By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
A call has gone to the officials of the Federal and state administrations in the Country, to stop issuing out verbal threats to citizens on the possibility of imposition of a second lockdown measures to stave off the second wave of Covid-19 afflictions but the political elites should show good examples so others can follow their foot steps.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) – the front line Civil Rights organization categorically asked the Presidential task force on combating COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA to originate unique home grown strategies to combat any possible second wave of the Coronavirus Pandemic in Nigeria and stop the copy- and – paste and borrow pose ‘ tendencies amongst Nigerian government officials who excessively copy foreign solutions from Europe and America rather than depend substantially on local remedies from Nigeria so we can effectively wage a successful war and not media propaganda.
“Why should the coordinator of the presidential task force on Covid -19 be issuing threats as if Nigeria is under a military regime? Why talk down on the citizens who are looking up to the political class for example which is non- existent? These members of the ruling elites in Abuja and the states are the first people to beat with reckless abandon any of the protocols put on ground to combat Covid -19.”
“The politicians such as the government officials of Kaduna and Imo states were the ones that hosted political meetings during the yuletide including the zonal meeting of the National Ruling Party – APC which took place in Owerri Imo State hosted by the governor of Imo State – Hope Uzodima in which many of the participants violated the protocols of wearing face masks and maintaining Social distancing”, HURIWA asserted.
The Rights group said further: “It is the same political class that hoarded palliatives meant for the commoners that usually go out in large numbers with sirens blaring and with persons who neither wear face masks or maintained social distancing. Why is the Federal government compelling millions of telecom subscribers to turn out in huge numbers at the National Identity Management Commission Offices in the urban centers to obtain the National Identity Number to synchronize with their phone lines or be blocked with few weeks’ deadline even amidst Covid-19?”
“This government should redirect the empty threats of a possible lockdown to itself and do the needful to fix the collapsed health sector and prevent poor citizens from getting afflicted from Covid-19 instead of always shifting blame to the voiceless millions of marginalized, hungry and jobless citizen”.
The Rights group said if government imposes a second lockdown what is the guarantee that the foods and medicines that would be donated to be distributed to poor Nigerians as palliatives would not be stolen for the second time like it was done the last time which resulted in a stampede? This government should stop this deadly joke”.
In the media statement endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf. HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) challenged President Muhammadu Buhari and his Presidential task Force on Covid-19 to transparently give accounts of how the well over N20 billion donations from the organised Private sector in aid of Citizens against Covid-19 were spent. “We are yet to read from the media of mass communication the result of any forensic audits of the well over N20 billion donations made in cash to Nigerians to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Central bank of Nigeria? Even the few indomies and noodles donated and redistributed to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory were looted and diverted by governors just as hungry citizens looted the remaining from where the governors hoarded and kept these Covid-19 palliatives diverted from the people of Nigeria”.
HURIWA recalled that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Coronavirus Control has warned that the Federal Government might impose another lockdown in Nigeria due to the recent rise in Covid-19 cases across the country.
HURIWA cited news report said the National Coordinator of PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, sounded the warning during a programme on a local television on Sunday even as he, Dr. Aliyu noted, however, that the only way to prevent a lockdown is by adhering to the laid down protocols and flatten the curve.Speaking, Aliyu said: “If you don’t want a lockdown, the only way is to make sure we use our facemasks, avoid mass gatherings.“Avoid people who have respiratory tract infections, sanitise our hands and follow those non-pharmaceutical interventions.“The very vaccines that we currently have are those non-pharmaceutical interventions.“If numbers continue to go up, all options are on the table. There are countries in the world that have been able to control this pandemic simply by following these non-pharmaceutical interventions. They may be inconvenient, but they will not be as difficult as a lockdown”.“All I can say is that 33 people died of COVID-19 in the last one week. Are we saying those people died for nothing?
“We have just recorded 6,000 cases in one week, far more than we ever recorded.
“COVID-19 exists; anybody who says COVID-19 does not exist is probably living in a completely different world.
“In the last one week, we’ve had a tripling of cases. You can see what’s happening in the United States, you can see what’s happening in the UK.
“I’m sure most of those who have been following the numbers will realize that what we have now far exceeds what we had in June/July last year.
“In week 52, which is the week we’ve just finished, we’ve seen a tripling in weekly number of cases, compared to what we had three weeks ago.
“The 6,000 cases per week is really huge. Our hospitals are already starting to get overloaded and we are already starting to feel the pressure within the healthcare system.
“So, talking about the projection, the projection really depends on whether people will start taking this very seriously and start following those non-pharmaceutical interventions that we’ve been talking about for the last one year.
“We’ve been able to demonstrate that it’s possible to flatten the curve, but we need the cooperation of everybody, we need the cooperation of the general public, we need the cooperation of the state governments.”
HURIWA however blamed the Presidential task Force on Covid-19 for its spectacular failures to render proper financial accounts of the humongous amounts of public funds made available to them since last year just as the Rights Advocacy group HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) stated that since these central government officials are not people that Nigerians trust to lead by example, they have therefore resorted to issuing out threats through public media channels because they have access to slush funds to be Funneled and channelled towards waging mass propaganda war against Nigerians who do not take most of the statistics reeled out from them serious because they failed to show Nigerians what the N20 billion donations and other billions of credit facilities from both the World Bank and the International Monetary fund meant to combat Covid-19 PANDEMIC in Nigeria were utilised since April of 2020 till date.