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Activist faults FG’s decision to reopen Abuja in May amidst COVID-19 pandemic

…Says, “Decision political, unscientific.”

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A Kaduna-based rights activist-cum chairman of ‘Centrum Initiative for Development and Fundamental Right Advocacy,’ CEDRA, Dr. John Danfulani, has faulted the decision of federal government of Nigeria to reopen office and businesses in the nation’s federal capital territory, FCT, Abuja, coming Monday.

He said FG’s decision to terminate the lockdown regime slammed on Abuja due to Covid-19 pandemic was “politically masterminded.”

Dr. Danfulani, in an elaborate statement in Kaduna, Thursday, noted that “No effort is required to discern that, quintessential scientific variables were not perused, and globally certified procedures followed before arriving at the decision.

Thus, the decision was masterminded by political and economic reasons that don’t have a base in empirical evidences of surge or spread of the disease, nationally,” he stated. 

“The FGN ordered reopening of offices and businesses in Abuja on Monday, 4th May, 2020. By implication, Monday will terminate the lockdown regime slammed on Abuja because of Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Danfulani stated that “When you juxtapose the decision with some commonsensical procedures, it was not clear, if the FGN and owners of private properties housing businesses disinfected offices and premises? 

“Is there a special re-arrangement of physical working environment to confirm with the golden rule of social distancing? Have workers in public and private sectors been tested and statuses known? Have public spaces like gardens, walkways and bus terminuses been disinfected? Have public spaces been equipped with sanitizers and other disinfectants for users? Have public spaces been re-arranged to comply with the social distancing directive of WHO and NCDC?” he asked.

He also raised other fundamental questions on whether the reality of most Abuja workers live in parts of Kaduna, Niger, Kogi, and Nasarawa states, that Covid-19 is surging critically assessed. 

“Was the realism that states that most Abuja workers are living-in are in total or partial lockdown considered; were surges in close climes taken to cognisance before the decision,?” he also asked.

“There is no stressing the fact that afore-posited matters (a-i) are essential pre-conditions for reopening. The FGN, PFT and NCDC and other chief players in the combat against the pandemic can’t agree less. 

“Truth be told: FGN’s decision to reopen Abuja on Monday, 4th May, 2020, was not a product of rigorous assessment of the situation; and concrete steps taken to avoid endangering workers and people living in Abuja and neighbouring states. 

“We are not apostles of doom and negativity but this decision will surely boomerang. We saw how similar speed in reopening in Germany and other advanced countries converted gains gotten from their initial lockdowns to gargantuan nightmares. 

“We counsel that decisions bordering management of Covid-19 be surrendered to scientists not politicians and businessmen. The later creams have proven to be incapable of taking decisions that make sense, scientifically and empirically. Their core interests are political aggrandizement, exploitation and primitive accumulation,” he noted.

According to him, “It’s advisable Nigerians listened to scientists, public health experts and their doctors, not politicians and businessmen, who are completely glue-less and inherently selfish. There is regrettable tragedy in listening to politicians and businessmen now than ever.” 

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