A frontline Civil Rights Advocacy group-: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned unreservedly the speech by President Muhammadu Buhari, which ordered an indefinite lockdown in its attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
DAILY POST had reported that President Buhari on Saturday, again, urged Nigerians to remain at home as the government makes effort to tackle the spread of Coronavirus across the country,
He had assured Nigerians that relief materials will soon be distributed to their homes.
Reacting, the Rights group said the indefinite shutdown of Nigeria and the rigid language adopted by President Muhammadu Buhari shows that there are still some vestiges of the military dictatorial hangover surrounding the running of governmental affairs.
HURIWA accused President Muhammadu Buhari and his political task force on COVID-19 headed by the politician Boss Mustapha of copying and pasting the measures put in place by many civilised and highly sophisticated nations of the WEST which have clearly made transparent and accountable provisions of reliefs and palliatives for their citizens including a range of systematic economic recovery and growth plan.
The group in a statement signed and made available to DAILY POST by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko stated that President Muhammadu Buhari who was a former military dictator has decided to cut himself away and hideaway in the cocoon of the fortified mansion away from the Nigerian People and is only appearing like a village masquerade during annual yam festivals adding that the development is a sign of a clear failure of charismatic leadership which we need in these times of health emergency.
“There is no justification or any scientific evidence to provide a balanced and rationally objective reasons for the indefinite lockdown by President Muhammadu Buhari copying dubiously and dishonestly the policies put in place by such advanced societies like the United States of America or the United Kingdom when it is so clear that the Federal Government of Nigeria, for now, has failed to disclose scientifically to Nigerians the immediate, short and long term strategies and actionable templates that the government is implementing to effectively and efficiently contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
“It Is highly UNSCIENTIFIC for President Muhammadu Buhari to shut down the Country on the nebulous ground that our economic and social life can only be restarted at the whims and caprices of some persons he whimsically identified as his scientists who are about the only Nigerians living ostentatiously off the financial resources of the nation whilst millions of disadvantaged people are wallowing in dreadful and an unmitigated economic disaster due to the uncertainties of the ongoing lockdown in Nigeria.
“We subscribe to the expert opinion of Alan Whiteside that the current global public response can best be described as mild hysteria. On the economic side, the scholar stated that there has been some recovery, but the markets can best be described as jittery.”
HURIWA also faulted the blindfolded and totally incomprehensible decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to lock down the nation in an indefinite mode given that even the World Health Organisation clearly stated that there are certain category of people that are more predisposed to the COVID-19 ailment when the WHO director-general told his 500 000 Twitter followers: “If you are 60+, or have an underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, a respiratory condition or diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing severe #COVID19. Try to avoid crowded areas or places where you might interact with people who are sick”. Effectively the message is don’t go to the theatre or take public transport, but you are probably OKAY in a restaurant.”
“HURIWA is worried that the grave human rights implications of locking down hungry, jobless, and desperate populations of mostly youngsters who are basically outside the age bracket of those categories that the World Health organisation regards as at-risk, is tantamount to the invitation of imminent civil unrest because it is inevitable that rather than millions of citizens stay at their homes without electricity and without foods and die they will rather pour out on the streets to cause social chaos and anarchy.
“This government and the officials responsible for the re-distribution of the GOVERNMENT’s incentives and palliatives have failed to render proper accounts just as out of the over 90 million poor Nigerians not more than 100 families have actually benefited from the assistance and food reliefs ordered to be re-distributed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It added that Nigeria needs to design strategies for the gradual easing of the lockdown to stop deaths from starvation or eventual social unrest which may not augur well for constitutional democracy, respect for human rights.
HURIWA, therefore, also urged the Federal government to publish the national health policy and strategy on the containment of the COVID-19 disease in Nigeria and make a general guideline on the use of personal protective equipment to ward off COVID-19 ailment.