A coalition of some Civil Society Oorganisations (CSOs), has asked the federal government to lift the inter-state travel ban currently in place, as according to it, the expected objectives were not being achieved.
Operating under the aegis of COVID-19 Situation Room and Research Centre, the group justified its position on facts that while the ban prevented the smooth running of economic activities, there were allegations that security agents drafted to ensure strict enforcement have resorted to extortion of motorists, leaving travelling unabated for those who can offer them tips.
Speaking during the formal unveiling of the centre in Abuja on Wednesday, Chairman of the group, Dr. Onwubuya Abraham, argued that rather than the travel ban, government should opt for strict compliance with the standard safety protocols in place, and penalise by way of fines where there are breaches. “We suggest that efforts should be concentrated more on management of cases, improved testing and sensitisation, because the travel ban is not helping. People are still traveling,” he said.
Also on schools’ closure, he said, “We want to also join our voices to other concerned Nigerians in appealing to the federal government to make immediate arrangement for final year students in all our schools and educational institutions to resume and take their final exams.”
He explained that the primary objective of the organisation was to complement the existing structures already in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic, “devoid of political and religious affiliations, but prepared to represent the interest of all Nigerians, and would be more focuses on providing Nigerians with facts and figures about the impact of COVID-19 and its after effects, as well as provide technical advice from independent perspectives”.
Elder statesmen, Engr. Burba Galadima, who performed the unveiling in his remarks, lamented that as much as 90 percent of Nigerians do not agree that coronavirus exists, due mainly to inadequate tests.
“We cannot determine today, how many Nigerians have been infected because we’re not doing enough tests. We can only appeal to those in government to increase the testing”, he noted.
While appealing to government to take a second look at the case of stranded Nigerians abroad over outbreak of the pandemic through support to make their return easier, Galadima said people should see government campaigns, including use of lockdown as “an issue of self-preservation”, and not to live in doubts.