By Adedayo Akinwale
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rescind his decision to relax the lockdown order imposed on Lagos, Ogun and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country.
The caucus said the president should allow the lockdown to remain operational for another 14 days from Monday 4th to 18th May, 2020.
The leader of the caucus, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, in a statement issued on Sunday, lamented that for the past six weeks of the pandemic, there has been no clear government policy for public places like markets, work place and public transport, among others, adding that medical facilities also remain inadequate.
He noted that several states have no test centres and received no support whatsoever from the federal government despite humongous sums spent so far, both from public coffers and donations from individuals and organisations.
According to Chinda, “Also instructive to note is that whilst declaring a relaxation of the lockdown order, beyond the usual campaign on hand washing; use of hand sanitizers, masks and social distancing, the federal government obviously did not put in place any other effective measure designed to stop the spread of the dreaded virus.”
The PDP caucus said that unfortunately, while the lockdown was on, the federal government went to sleep on its core responsibilities and was busy mouthing palliatives without visible action taken.
Chinda stated: “We are deeply worried about this and accordingly hereby express in very strong and unambiguous terms our utmost dismay, concern and total opposition to the stance of the federal government to prematurely relax and/or lift the lockdown order in the affected places earlier mentioned, and to hurriedly ask workers back to their offices, while the virus continues to ravage our people and our cities.”
The caucus stressed that it was apparent that the federal government was clearly more concerned about the economic benefits of reopening an already weak and ailing economy than the preservation of human life.
It noted that the decision was without doubt “very callous, insensitive and most unfortunate” response by the federal government, adding that the only plausible alternative to this was that the government has run out of ideas on what to do.
Besides, the caucus said available evidence and statistics from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed that Nigeria was far from winning the fight against Covid-19, stressing that even with the lockdown, rather than reduce, the casualty rate and number of those tested positive to the virus is increasing on daily bases.
Against this background, the caucus demanded “that President Buhari rescinds his decision to relax the lockdown order and allow the lockdown remain operational for another 14 days from Monday, 4th May, 2020 to end 18th May, 2020.
“Within the extended period come up with clear public policies – covering markets, offices, factories, public transport, to be adopted for containment of the spread of the virus; set up functional testing centers in all the states of the federation and FCT and distribute very equitably all necessary kits to all the states and FCT”.