Africa Should Adopt a Structured Lockdown to Avoid Unintended Calamities – CSO

Africa is incapable of managing a total lockdown for weeks, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, without the situation snowballing into a mass-revolt of an unimaginable proportion, the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) has said.

The group said Africa and other third world nations should only implement COVID-19 preventive measures that are sensitive to their own peculiarities, to avert tragedies that could trigger some unintended calamities.

“The Haves cannot ask the Have-nots to stay at home without food; therefore, Nigeria, Africa and other third world nations must quickly review their total lockdown measures, in line with their socioeconomic realities to avert the rage and war of the poor.

“You cannot tell a hungry father to watch his hungry family dying in their room just like that and do nothing, and for no fault of theirs, and because of a virus that has not locked down their hands and legs,” said CDNDC in a statement by its Convener, Ariyo-Dare Atoye.

“We are appealing to the leaderships in Nigeria and other African countries to immediately fashion out the best possible strategies to implement a structured lockdown, which can include structured working/marketing hours and days, with massive sanitization/fumigation of these markets, clustered businesses, the streets, while insisting the people comply reasonably with the social distancing and handwashing measures.

“Subsequently, and after the first 14 days of managing a structured lockdown, government should consider recruiting, training and deploying monitoring and enforcement officers to implement these preventive measures which could be stringent and friendly, in motor parks, business complexes, markets and other areas.

“Certainly, Africa and other third world countries are not the same level and development trajectory with the First and Second World Nations; we do not have the infrastructure, economy and the might to cope with, and address the challenges that come with a total lockdown as a preventive mechanism against the spread of COVID-19.

“Majority of the people living in developing countries are very poor, needy, dislocated and cannot afford beyond what they can strive to get daily; worse still, the preponderance of evidence available suggest that these daily incomes and opportunities are not even regular and too little.

“And, aside the endemic nature of corruption in most developing countries, majority of them are incapable of any organized palliatives that could sustain a two-week shutdown; and, even when they have a little to share, they also lack any reasonable data and infrastructures to reach the most vulnerable.

“Nigeria is currently implementing a conditional physical cash-transfer that is meant for the vulnerable and the poor, but the government is silent on parameters used and data mined, in reaching these people, amidst growing criticisms.

“If COVID kills in thousands, hunger will kill in millions, but people who are hungry cannot even wait for that to happen or watch each other dying and doing nothing, because the rich and the haves have asked the poor to stay at home without food.

“Therefore, the leaderships in Nigeria and Africa must come face to face with the grim reality of a likely spontaneous and massive resistance and an unmitigated rage of the poor if this lockdown goes beyond what the people can bear,” said CDNDC in a statement.


Featured Image Credit: South African soldiers patrol a hostel in the densely populated Alexandra township east of Johannesburg, enforcing a strict lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus © AP




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