By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has faulted the decision of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to order an extension of the lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The PRP described the President’s position that the lockdown will continue “as long as is necessary”, as unrealistic, insensitive and disappointing.
Buhari had, on March 29, ordered a lockdown of Lagos and Ogun states and the Federal Capital Territory for an “initial period of 14 days.”
The lockdown took effect on March 30 at 11 pm.
However, the President, on Saturday, stated that the restriction would continue as long as experts deem it necessary.
National Chairman of the PRP, Alhaji Falalu Bello, in a statement on Monday said, “in the face of the overwhelming evidence that point to the inappropriateness in the country’s specific circumstances and social realities would be tantamount to playing fiddle while Rome burns.”
He said, the President’s alleged confirmation of the continuation of lockdown shows he has yet to understand the ineffectiveness of lockdowns as a panacea for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in an economic and social environment such as Nigeria’s.
Bello said, “Nigeria’s COVID-19 response strategy, with terms such as aggressive enforcement of total lockdown, flattening of the curve, contact tracing, self-isolation, etc., is a very good strategy on paper but has been drawn in total disregard to our environment and circumstances.
“Complete lockdown, for example, may be useful and effective in developed economies and societies as exist in Europe and North America. But in our own environment, where infrastructure such as housing, public transportation, sanitation and water supply are, at best, rudimentary, a wholesale copy of the lockdown template as a strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic is as good as playing the ostrich.
“Self-Isolation, as another example, in most houses in our towns and cities, where tens of families stay in a house with only a toilet and tap, is neither possible nor practicable. The COVID-19 strategy sold to our President and his governors is alien to our circumstances, not practicable or sustainable and should be urgently jettisoned.”