COVID-19: Agbakoba, others seek nationwide lockdown

By AdvocateNews on 15/04/2020

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Olisa Agbakoba
Olisa Agbakoba

Senior lawyers have praised the efforts made so far by the Federal Government to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

They agreed with President Muhammadu Buhari that steps taken to curtail the pandemic, particularly the extension of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun  states and the  Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja were in the right direction and in the interest of Nigerians.

Many of them however suggested lockdown across the country to control community spread as observed by President Muhammadu Buhari in his national broadcast on Monday night.

The senior lawyers are:  former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN);  Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN), Chief Louis Alozie (SAN) and former Vice-President of the NBA, Monday Ubani.

Agbakoba said the extension of the lockdown in the two states and the FCT  was necessary to combat the ravaging disease effectively.

”The broadcast was broadly okay as the extension was a very necessary bug.  We need more science to drive the war against COVID-19,” he said.

Agbakoba, however, remarked that the President  should have told the nation pointedly the indices provided on the disease and how communal spread of the disease  had  been impacting negatively on the drive to contain it.

“I urge the government to tell us where we are on the curve. Are we at a plateau? Is it peaking? How is containment? What is the level of communal spread?” he asked.

Fagbohungbe  said that the extension of lockdown in the affected states and FCT is in the interest of the people.

He pointed out that the provisions of the Quarantine Law and further clarification, which the President promised in his address, would further help government to protect the life of the people as provided for in the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

He urged Nigerians to cooperate with the government in its effort to combat the disease.

The SAN said: “The most important thing is for us to cooperate with the federal government and its various committees in their efforts to fight the disease.

“We must all comply fully with the lockdown in order not to scuttle their efforts through community spread.”

According to Chief Alozie, the extension of the period of the  lockdown in the  two states and FCT  are in the circumstance justified.

Alozie agreed with Buhari that COVID-19 now spreads by person to person contact in the country.

He said: “ The cases of COVID-19 infections kept increasing instead of abating particularly in  Lagos, Ogun states and the FCT which are the main areas of economic and political activities in Nigeria.

”As already known by members of the public, COVID-19  now spreads through  person-to- person contacts.

“Because no cure or even vaccine has been certified as capable of tackling the scourge, the only appropriate response to it is to maintain social distancing, appropriate hygiene, that is, washing of hands, sanitizing and avoiding persons of contact.”

Alozie noted that the Monday night broadcast afforded the President the opportunity to tell Nigerians the extent of efforts  by his government to stem the spread of the virus and to give reasons why the restriction of movements and total lockdown had become the only remedies  to abate or reduce the spread of the virus.

He advised on the need to control the community transfer of  the virus nationwide as observed by the government.

Alozie said: ”One had expected that in view of the speed with which the  virus is spreading with new cases being discovered almost on a daily basis, the lockdown ought to have been a nationwide thing so that infected persons don’t move from Lagos to Abuja, to other states and communities thereby increasing its spread.

“We thank God for the proactive measures being taken by various state governments in restricting the movement of persons with some of them closing interstate borders or roads and also ordering lockdown of activities in their various states.

“The pandemic would have attained frightening proportions if these measures were not being taken by state governments.

“In my view, it would have been better if the President  had ordered a nationwide lockdown as that would have enabled security agencies to take the enforcement of the directive more serious unlike presently when big time transporters and our big men manage to cross interstate borders or boundaries despite the directive by the state governments.

He added: “For now, the only weapon available to the citizens is to obey the government directives on quarantine orders, economic lockdown, maintaining proper hygiene and social distancing.

“With the increased rate of infections being discovered, government should make more facilities available to accommodate those to be quarantined and treated for the sickness.

“The only problem why majority of our citizens don’t seem to be comfortable with the lockdown orders is the absence of reasonable economic palliatives to enable them  feed themselves and their families during the period of technical retrenchment.

“The facilities for testing of the citizens should also be made available. For now, it is only Lagos and the FCT  that are known to have those facilities in place.

“With the closure of air and road transport, market and other economic activities, the hardship on the citizens appear very unbearable hence there are hues and cries across the nation.

“It is important to ensure that those people on quarantine and lockdown do not die of hunger during the period of lockdown.”-The Nation

Posted 15/04/2020 04:45:17 AM


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