As the two weeks designated for lockdown of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun draws closer, there are indications Buhari might extend the order.
President Muhammadu Buhari
In a bid to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed a lockdown nearly two weeks ago.
The Nigerian leader made the announcement in a national broadcast on Sunday, March 29.
The ‘Stay at home’ rule which affected Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States commenced 11pm on Monday, March 30.
This triggered opposition by legal practitioners and critics as they took turns to chide the president for what they described as an arbitrary action.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) government bowed to pressure and twenty-hours later, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said Buhari had signed the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020.
A statement he issued noted that the president relied on powers conferred on him by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004).
However, the Ogun Government got presidential approval to effect lockdown in the state from Friday ,April 3.
Ahead of the expiration of the 14-day time frame (Monday April 13), Nigerians have been wondering the decision the president would proclaim.
Taking into consideration figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), analysts predictions and the current situation, the lockdown might continue.
Also, health sector sources and government body language suggest this is what will likely happen.
On Tuesday, April 7, Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) refused to confirm or eliminate the possibility of an extension.
On Thursday April 9, Lagos declared that the lockdown would remain in force until President Buhari said otherwise.
DAILY POST reports that in the last 10 days, calculating from the night the order was enforced, cases in the nation’s commercial hub jumped from about 78 to 138.
Consequently, five factors would be cited as reasons in the event of an elongation in the city with a population of 22 million.
These are: Lagos has recorded the most new cases; there’s an ongoing tracking of contacts/exposed persons; hidden positive cases are being suspected; level of compliance unsatisfactory/average and; growing fear of more new cases.
While proponents are calling for an extension of the rule to guarantee safety of lives, others say they don’t see the need.
They posit that the number of cases has not really skyrocketed when compared to other countries in Africa and for this reason, life should continue.
The opponents also have premised their argument on the fact that the masses were suffering as they could not go out in search of daily income to feed themselves, families and other dependents.
They are accusing the government of unseriousness and insensitivity, pointing out that palliatives such as cash and food items were not provided before or during the lockdown.
In Ghana, President Akufo-Addo pronounced free provision of water for all citizens in April, May and June as well as stable electricity.
Health workers treating COVID-19 patients will receive 50 percent additional salary allowance and will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next 3 months.
But the Buhari administration has repeatedly stated that it is reaching out to “the vulnerable and the poor”.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, claimed that over 2.6 million households have so far received N20,000 each.
The claim triggered outrage off and on social media to the extent that organizations have demanded a full list of all beneficiaries across Nigeria.
Meanwhile, there is an outrage over SGF Boss Mustapha’s confession on Nigeria’s health system.
At a meeting with the National Assembly leadership, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Chairman said: “I never knew that our entire healthcare infrastructure was in the state in which it is until I was appointed to do this work”.