COVID-19: Restart economic activities cautiously, Peterside, others tell FG, states

The Atedo Peterside-led think tank on COVID-19 has urged the federal and state governments to allow economic activities resume cautiously across the country. 

A statement signed by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank, Atedo Peterside and Abubakar Siddique Mohammed respectively said the current compulsory lockdown across the country has failed. 

The think tank was established on March 22, 2020 and has 18 members drawn from across the six geopolitical zones and the diaspora – Germany and USA. 

They observed that Nigerians were being killed daily by law enforcement agencies at almost the same pace as the coronavirus. 

“It is time to review the strategy, as it is clear that compulsory lockdown (as implemented by our own security agencies) are not working. Food has become a lot more expensive in various urban centres, as transportation costs have soared due to rising security obstacles, arbitrary closure of inter-state borders and other supply chain disruptions,” they said. 

The think tank said restricted market days and curfews often result in needless overcrowding thereby negating adherence to social distancing. 

“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 group advised Members recommended an end to the compulsory lockdowns and intensification of public enlightenment and awareness of the importance of social distancing in public and in public transportation (with rules that prevent overcrowding), wearing masks, improve sanitation and provision of water in public places to facilitate washing of hands. 

They further recommended that suspension of large public, social and religious gatherings should continue until further notice and schools should remain closed while those who can, should work from home. 

They also asked the Federal Government to make arrangements for Nigerians trapped abroad to return home. 

“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,” the group said.

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