... Says locking the citizens at home like the Trans-Atlantic slaves without addressing their socio-economic needs, more dangerous than coronavirus
The Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, has berated both the federal and the 36 state governments and Abuja, for extending the Covid- 19 pandemic lockdown without making adequate arrangements for security and food for the citizens.
It said that locking people up in their houses without providing security and anything to eat was like passing death sentences on the them.
"We make bold to say that there will be no difference between keeping Nigerians at home without adequate security protection and enough food and letting them to be afflicted by coronavirus," the CLO noted.
These were contained in a statement titled, "Continued Lockdown without Adequate Provisions for All Nigerians is a Death Sentence," signed by the Executive Director of the CLO, Comrade Ibuchukwu Ezike in Lagos,Thursday.
The statement read in part, "The proposed extension of the anti-Coronavirus lockdown nationwide by the Federal Government without genuine and adequate provision of foodstuffs and other palliatives for all Nigerians will be equalled to passing a death sentence or verdict on the citizens.
"CLO learnt that the Federal Government, in collaboration with the state governments, resolved to extend the two week lockdown across Nigeria.
"Only on Wednesday, the Presidential TaskForce on COVID -19 raised the alarm that the President Muhammadu Buhahi - led Federal Government would impose a total lockdown on the entire country by this weekend.
Dr. Aliyu, Chairman of the Task Force, who announced this, said the essence of the alarm was to advise Nigerians to immediately make adequate arrangements for their families.
"Dr Aliyu who informed that Nigeria was going to experience turbulent times occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, also accused the government of failure to take proactive measures from the onset to attack COVID-19 on time, adding that government was now ready barely three months, after the deadly disease began to spread, to now make adequate and coordinated arrangements to address the coronavirus scourge in Nigeria.
"CLO is not against the extension of lockdown on the country in the fight to contain the Covid-19 pandemic but we are totally against doing so without putting adequate mechanisms in place to cushion the killer effects of the lockdown.
"It will be needless extending the imprisonment of Nigerians if enough food, money and other essential household materials will not be provided for all Nigerians who are in need.
"We have witnessed the corrupt and nontransparent methods adopted of sharing of the insufficient palliatives provided by the various governments in the last four weeks as well as gross mismanagement of money and foodstuffs donated by patriotic Nigerians and organisations which, till date, has not been probed by the government despite public outcries across Nigeria.
"CLO will, therefore, view government's intransigence in extending the lockdown without fulfilling these conditions and providing security for the people as passing death sentence on Nigerians.
"The last four weeks have been characterised by hunger, armed robbery attacks, invasion of homes at night and raping of women.
"Various countries of the world which are imposing lockdown on their societies also make good provisions for their citizens. For instance, in Qatar, special hotline numbers are provided for citizens who are in need to contact agencies responsible for handling the amenities to them. Also, South Africa has approved the payment of 350 Rands to adults and 750 Rands to children for the period the lockdown will last in their country. In Finland, not only that adequate palliatives are provided, they do not make public the statistics of those affected, discharged and who have passed on. We can go on.
"We note with certainty that Coronavirus like any other epidemic virus disease that had existed in the past will come and go and Nigerians will still live. "CLO condemns the way our government is handling the coronavirus pandemic, especially with respect to locking the citizens at home like the Trans-Atlantic slaves without addressing their socio-economic needs.
"Locking people at home is not the only solution. We are not aware of any efforts by the government to fund serious research on the COVID-19 as other nations of the world are doing or making provisions to test people on the way as it is done in some countries.
"For instance in China, people move freely today, even in Wuham, where the pandemic started.
"Lastly, we call for transparency in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provision of adequate welfare for the citizens."