The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has demanded the extension of the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun States for another two weeks from Monday, May 4. President Muhammadu Buhari had eased the lockdown effective from Monday, May 4 in a national broadcast last week.
But in a statement signed by its leader, Kinsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), the Caucus described the decision by the federal government to relax lockdown on Monday, May 4 as unfortunate and unacceptable. The PDP Caucus said relaxing the lockdown will further aggravate the situation as the virus is likely to spread more beyond imaginations.
It called on the government to, within the two weeks extension, equitably distribute all necessary kits, make available the promised palliatives and distribute same equitably to all the States and FCT. It also challenged the Federal government to show genuine interest and commitment in getting universities and research institutes more involved in the search for solution. “Already, the situation in Lagos and Kano States is scary. These cases and more are enough to cause us even greater anxiety and concern.
“We also take cognisance of the fact that the President Buhari-led Federal Government would undoubtedly be failing very woefully in its responsibility of preserving the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which he swore to defend and protect, which provides in Section 14(2) (b) that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’.
“Equally important and compelling is the provision of Sections 17(3) (c) and (d) of the same Constitution. “Whereas Section 17(3) (c) provides that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that ‘the health, safety and welfare of all person in employment are safeguarded and not endangered or abused’, Section 17 (3)(d) provides that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that ‘there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons,’” he said.
Chinda noted that, in the over six weeks of the pandemic, there was no clear government policy for public places like Markets, Work place, public transport etc. “Medical facilities are very inadequate. “Several States have no test centres and received no support whatsoever from the Federal Government despite humongous sums spent so far, both from public coffers and donations from individuals and organisation.
“It is somewhat difficult, obviously very surprising and disturbing to decipher the genuine reason behind the Federal Government’s sudden decision to relax the lockdown order in the midst of the prevailing and ravaging Covid-19 pandemic. “Taking into cognizance the experience of other countries where lockdown was prematurely relaxed,” the Caucus added.
It commended the attitude and stance of various State governments and the Nigerian Governors Forum in taking clear and decisive actions in the fight against COVID-19 in their respective States, and more importantly for the proactive stand of the Nigerian Governors Forum to contain spread of the virus in their domain.