Nigeria: ActionAid Calls for Lockdown of Nigeria

24 March 2020

The ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), has called on the federal government to lockdown the country for the next 14 days in order to fast-track the efforts of the Presidential Task Force on Control of Covid-19 (PTFCC-19) in combating the spread of the virus in the country.

The Country Director of AAN, Mrs. Ene Obi, who spoke in Abuja yesterday, noted that the increasing cases of the imported virus into the country required that more still need to be done quickly and promptly to roll the tide against the spread of the virus.

Obi said: "With the cases of infected persons increasing from 3 to 36 within a week, Nigeria needs to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, the concept of social distancing and self-isolation remains a mirage to many Nigerians. The average Nigerian, particularly those offline and at the grass root are still ignorant and lack the basic safeguarding information on symptoms and prevention of the spread of the virus."

She said that the AAN is concerned that no proactive steps are being taken at the grass root level to educate an average woman in the market that one infected person with high exposure can infect up to 2.5 million persons within five days as stated by the Minister of Health, Mr. Osagie Ehanire during a press conference yesterday.

"We are worried that Nigeria's level of preparedness to respond to COVID-19 is low and this further buttress the need to re-prioritise Nigeria's budgetary provisions by investing more in healthcare facilities. Nigeria's porous borders makes her susceptible to outbreaks and it is quite unfortunate that we still have public gathering across the nation with many Nigerians still going about their businesses in packed public transport," Obi said, adding that: "Outbreaks and pandemics create an opportunity to re-evaluate the potency of our healthcare system and authenticity of our citizens database, which would have eased contact tracing of the imported cases of the coronavirus."

The AAN, therefore, called on the state governments to swiftly increase the awareness campaign on the proactive measures needed to prevent the spread of the virus at the grassroot level.

It also enjoined the National Orientation Agency and Ministry of Information to intensify public awareness by translating preventive guidelines to major Nigerian languages, especially on radio and other traditional means of communication.

It also called on the "citizens to support government's effort by reporting identified cases, practicing social distancing, self-isolation, spreading preventive messages and desist from spreading unverified information."

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