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Covid-19: Finding a middle ground

On Monday, April 27, 2020, the four weeks lockdown of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; Lagos and Ogun states will expire. Since the lockdown, the novel coronavirus has continued to spread across Nigeria with over 1065 cases as well as dozens of deaths.

 

Various state governments have put restrictions in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19. Some states have more flexible procedure requiring mandatory use of mask, and a measure of social distancing.

In others, lockdowns are lifted only twice a week to allow residents stock up. These measures have faced issue of implementation and compliance.

It emerged that interstate transport that was prohibited was happening between the hours of 11pm and 5:30am by Nigerians seeking to return their abode where they believe they can manage during the pandemic difficulties.

As things stand, Nigerians have been grumbling of the dire situation that are compelled to endure. Being basically an informal market driven economy, majority of Nigerians live from hand to mouth with what they can make on a daily basis from their trade and labour.

As most businesses are shut and the prognosis showing an economy tottering on the brink of recession if not depression, Nigerians are apprehensive of a continued lockdown without commiserate support by the government.

Though the federal and state governments have being distributing palliatives, citizens have not only faulted the approach but complained of the inadequacy of what is offered.

Gradually, angst is building and there are credible fears that if not managed carefully, it could boil over.

While citizens are agitating for the lifting of movement restrictions, medical personnel are wary of such a development, calling for an extension of the lockdown until such a time the country flattens the curve.

Following the tenuous situation of things and the increasing agitations by citizens, it has become imperative for government especially the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on Covid-19 to come up with a credible roadmap on how the country intends to move forward.

It is agreed that medical personnel should not be put in harm’s way and the Covid-19 curve needs to be flattened, continuing with the lockdown will be ruinous as it is already.

One cheering thing is that it has been proven that the use of face mask is an effective measure against the spread of the virus, it is therefore, advised that governments across board should enforce the use of face masks, while appropriate social distancing mechanism be developed as well as discouragement of large gatherings.

Every Nigerian has paid a price in the race to win the battle against coronavirus. It is expected that with clear cut directives and protocols that will guarantee their survival and wellbeing, Nigerians will be willing to abide by the protocol.

In doing so, a collective engagement like has been demonstrated thus far needs to be upped to ensure the buy-in of critical stakeholders like the organized private sector, religious bodies, civil society and the populace at large.

This is not the time to dither or embark on a headstrong approach that could potentially reverse the gains so far achieved. This is when pragmatism and an indigenous approach should be fashioned to engender social cohesion and a united front in the covid-19 battle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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