Civil Society Statement On The State Of The Nation & FG’s Response To COVID-19
Today, we, the Civil Society Alliance Against COVID-19 (CSAA COVID-19) received with shock the news that a number of politicians have been recklessly ignoring measures for isolation of travellers returning from overseas. Most notably, the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, and the Governor of Bauchi State, have tested positive for Covid-19. We are also calling attention to members of the National Assembly and Governors such as those of Abia, Enugu and Imo who have been seen at public events well within the period of 14 days since their return from overseas. Our shock stems from their having reportedly ignored established safety protocols and breezed past safety checks to which other Nigerians are routinely subjected. They have exposed an extraordinary swathe of the Nigerian government and public to risks of infection.
At this time, we send all of our support and prayers to NCDC, the Ministry of Health, and all of the medical professionals who must put themselves at risk to address this situation. We also stand with all of those who have been in contact with politicians who have acted recklessly and must now endure testing, isolation, and probably repeated screening along with their families and loved ones.
We now call on all Nigerians to support those who are now able to credibly lead to calmly take the necessary steps to protect our country. With the Chief of Staff’s actions, Mr President, the Vice-President, our ministers, governors, international partners and those leading the fight against this pandemic have been compromised. These are very difficult times and we must learn a lesson as a nation and face this crisis together with unity and determination. All those who have created risks must immediately cooperate with the authorities and not in any way slow the exercise in damage limitation.
Nigeria has to now plan for the worst, which is a significant number of confirmed cases of corona spread across the country and revealing themselves over the coming 2-4 weeks. This will require an extraordinary scaling up of the capacity of the NCDC and state task forces. It will require the government, the private sector, civil society and our religious bodies to work together to ensure that testing takes place, preventive humanitarian response is coordinated, and that measures across the board are ramped up.
As we make this call to action, we demand that attention is paid to the most vulnerable in our society. While urgent measures need to be taken, they must be well thought through and not harm low income earners and those whose very survival could easily be threatened by badly administered lockdowns. The Federal Government and States must immediately formulate and engage teams that include non-government actors capable of collaborating on this extraordinary challenge.
Civil Society Alliance Against COVID-19 (CSAA COVID-19)