NIGERIA’S federal government will not introduce a fresh coronavirus lockdown despite the outbreak of a second wave of the virus unless it is totally necessary and unavoidable with no other option available.
In April, President Muhammadu Buhari introduced a lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory, while several state governors also brought in local restrictions. However, the measures lead to widespread disaffection as the country struggled to deal with the economic impact as Nigeria has no food stocks to fall back on.
Also, in a lot of large cities, large swathes of the population earn their living by doing daily work in the informal sector and retail. Under pressure as social unrest was brewing, the government had no choice but to lift the lockdown, especially as its palliative measures involving the distribution of food items proved wholly inadequate.
Yesterday, Nigeria’s National Economic Council met in Abuja in a meeting presided over by vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo. At the end of the meeting, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, the chairman of the Northern Nigerian Governors Forum, said a lockdown will only be the last resort in the wake of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the meeting, the council expressed concern about the pandemic and advised that sanitation, restrictions on the number of people in gatherings among other protocols should be taken seriously. Studying the current situation, the federal government warned that Nigeria was witnessing a second wave of Covid-19 going by the latest records.
Governor Lalong said: “It was resolved that proper measures should be taken again with very strict observation of the protocols and observation of some of the conditions that were laid, otherwise, we are going to move into a situation where it will be very uncontrollable. For that, states were advised to go back and emphasis the implementation or the enforcement of some of the protocols that we have earlier started in the first phase.
“Otherwise, we have to resort to the last aspect, of course everybody knows, going back to lockdown again, which is not anybody’s doing. But then let’s all go back and observe most of the protocols that we have to curtail the further spread of Covid-19.”