The Federal government is about to make one of the most critical decisions in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic, whether to partial lockdown or a total lockdown of the states. Unfortunately, either of the two-decision come with an advantage but a greater disadvantage.
The western region style of total lockdown has been strongly padded with huge fund from the wallet of the Federal government to meet the needs the citizen, rolling out dollars in billions. Unlike most third world country like Nigeria with the economy already in a dare strait, where we make borrowing our only sure hope, total lockdown might plunge the whole nation in a sooner than excepted recession. On the other hand, lifting the lockdown or collapsing it into partial lockdown leaves many vulnerable to the risk of been infected and possible death. Not only that, questions like……. can the rules of partial lockdown be thoroughly followed by masses who already are warming up to take to the street all in the name of sourcing for daily read for themselves and family members once there is a slight opportunity? What and what we are to be restricted? How will it be managed? What will be the pattern of transport system going forward? Will schools resume? And so many other questions
Presently, FCT, Lagos, Ogun, already on one-month lockdown, and Kano state, which is fast becoming the major concern.
It was learnt that there is pressure on the Federal Government to relax the lockdown to save the economy. Last night, the odds were in favour of the partial restriction.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is in the forefront of the demand for partial restriction especially the restoration of internal movement in the states. Governors have already pledged to close their borders to inter-state movement for two weeks.
Overwhelmed by agitations for the partial lifting of the lockdown, the Presidential Task Force (PTF), the main advisory body on the pandemic fight, was weighing the options last night. Its scheduled meeting to take a decision failed to hold. The meeting, it was learnt, will now hold today ahead of the President’s expected broadcast. “The PTF review session fixed for Sunday (yesterday) was cancelled to get more input from stakeholders.
Already, some governors have begun playing politics with COVID-19 by not waiting for the response of the Federal Government to the input of the NGF. These governors have opted to end the total lockdown in their states.
“Our major fears are possible abuse of the partial restrictions and the likely spread of Coronavirus since we are at the level of community spread in all the states.
“We also do not want to run a government which will bring more pains to Nigerians.
“Whatever is our decision will be guided by the need to save the lives of Nigerians. We will look at all indices and what is applicable in other climes.”
Already the price of food item in the market is skyrocketing on a daily bases, especially locally made rice. This is not the time for federal government restriction on some food items that can be source from abroad since they are cheaper than the locally made produce.
Nigerian are eagerly waiting to know the next line of action.