By Samson Yaki

In a bid to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and considering the unintended consequences due to questions of effectiveness of Compulsory Lockdowns, the Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank has called on the federal government to consider reviewing the strategy for the fight against the pandemic.

The Group made the call in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman and Vice Chairman, Atedo N. A. Peterside and Abubakar Siddique Mohammed after a Board Meeting of the foundation to review the nationwide Situation Reports regarding the ongoing Lockdowns and Social Distancing initiatives being implemented all over the country.

The group observed with earnest concern that despite the lockdown on Lagos, Ogun states and the FCT three weeks ago, there has been continuous increase in the cases of infected persons with unabated spread to other States.

The group condemned in strong terms the number of deaths by bullets of security men at almost the same pace as the Coronavirus kills, calling for a review of the strategy as coercive measures do not seem to work.

“28 persons are confirmed as having died on account of COVID-19. Meanwhile 25 Nigerians appear to have been killed by the security agencies in their bid to enforce various compulsory lockdown measures.

“ A situation where Nigerians are being killed daily by law enforcement agencies at almost the same pace as the Coronavirus kills them is totally unacceptable.
“It is time to review the strategy, as it is clear that Compulsory Lockdowns (as implemented by our own security agencies) are not working”, the statement read.
The group noted that since the lockdown began, the has been a sharp rise in cost of living as food has become more expensive, transportation costs have soared high, warning that the longer the Compulsory Lockdowns continue, “the higher the risk of a breakdown in law and order, despite the best efforts of Government and other well-meaning Nigerians in distributing food and money to those in need”.

Consequently, the group called for a change of direction “from a Compulsory Lockdown to an Intelligent Lockdown which largely thrives on voluntary actions by an informed populace”.

While stating the original motive of Compulsory Lockdowns as for awareness creation and to popularize self-quarantine, the group called for an Intelligent Lockdown, with most economic activities allowed to thrive.

Among measures to combat the spread of the disease, the group advocates for an end to Compulsory Lockdowns, intensify public enlightenment on the importance of behavioural changes i.e. Social Distancing both in public and in public transportation, wearing masks, improve sanitation and provision of water in public places to facilitate washing of hands. “We urge the 3-tiers of Government, NGOs and the Private Sector to distribute to all citizens reusable/washable masks and ensure that security and healthcare professionals have the right Personal Protective Equipment for their roles.

“The suspension of large public, social and religious gatherings should continue until further notice and schools should remain closed. Those who can, should work from home.

“The Federal Government should make arrangements for Nigerians trapped abroad to return home.
“What Nigeria needs now is movement towards an Intelligent and Sustainable Lockdown which is based largely around voluntary compliance. The more Nigerians understand, the more they can self-regulate”, the group Reiterates.

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