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Change of strategy, canvasses intelligent lockdown says Anap

The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank has called for a change of strategy adopted by the Nigerian government to tackle the spread of coronavirus and canvassed for a shift from compulsory lockdown to what it called intelligent lock down.

In a press release jointly signed by its chairman, Atedo Peterside, and Vice Chairman, Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, Anap said to implement an Intelligent Lock down, it envisaged that most economic activities should be allowed to resume cautiously.

The statement, issued at after its Board Meeting held Wednesday to review nationwide Situation Reports with regard to the ongoing Lockdowns and Social Distancing initiatives being implemented all over the country, said “members resolved to call on the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum and other stakeholders to also evaluate the effectiveness of Compulsory Lock downs (in our bid to manage the pandemic) as well as the unintended consequences which they continue to generate.”

Anap

It noted that since the commencement of the Compulsory Lockdowns in Lagos and Ogun States plus Abuja/FCT more than three weeks ago which had now extended to all the states of the federation, the number of people being infected had climbed steadily and the spread to various parts of the country had continued apace.

“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 said, adding, “It is time to review the strategy, as it is clear that Compulsory Lock downs (as implemented by our own security agencies) are not working.“

While noting that 28 persons were confirmed as having died on account of COVID-19, it said 25 Nigerians appeared to have been killed by security agencies enforcing the various compulsory lockdown measures.

Highlighting the hardship brought on the people by the lockdowns, Anap said, “Food has become a lot more expensive in various urban centers, as transportation costs have soared due to rising security obstacles, arbitrary closure of inter-state borders and other supply chain disruptions.

“Restricted market days and curfews often result in needless overcrowding thereby negating adherence to Social Distancing. There has also been a rise in protests and mob action.”

It opined that the longer the compulsory lock downs 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.

“We believe there is a need to change direction from a Compulsory Lockdown to an Intelligent Lockdown (as practiced by a few countries) which largely thrives on voluntary actions by an informed populace.

“The original expected benefit of the Compulsory Lock downs was to buy some time so that public enlightenment and awareness campaigns could educate the populace whilst also helping to popularize self-quarantine.

These awareness campaigns and self-quarantine measures have helped and they should continue,” it said.

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“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,” said the Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank, established in March to respond to COVID-19 pandemic.

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Augustine Aminu

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