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Mixed reactions trail lockdown order in Kwara



Divergent views on Thursday trailed an order by the Kwara Government closing down worship centres and halting commercial activities to curtail the spread of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Kwara is among the states in Nigeria that have yet to record any confirmed case of COVID-19.

As part of precautionary measures, the state Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, had at a news conference on Wednesday, ordered the lockdown of commercial and religious activities in the state.

In his reaction, Dr Oba Laaro, a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, observed that there was contradiction inherent in the directives.

“Asking commercial transporters to stay at home, while food and drug sellers are allowed to open, is not logical.

“The problem is how will the Ipata market women get themselves and their goods to the market because not all shoppers have personal cars to transport whatever they buy to and from markets?

“Though this is not peculiar to Kwara, the government will need to think around this,’’ he said.

The don advocated more enlightenment to change the perception of the commonman about the disease.

“The perception taking traction out there is that COVID-19 is a big men disease.

“That’s a serious inhibition to message acceptance and adoption by the people.

“So, that needs to be attacked,’’ he added.

Laaro stressed the need for the elected politicians to activate their networks to reach the people and more importantly show responsibility by making sanitisers and face marks available to the people.

But in his reaction, Comrade Kolawole Olumoh, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Kwara, said the directive was a step in the right direction.

He, however, urged government to avail the populace with palliative measures that would ease the effect of having to stay indoors.

“Moreso, the government should be more proactive in sensitising, mobilising and implementing the recommendations of the state technical committee on COVID-19 quick.”

The National President of the Odua Progressive Care Initiative (OPCI), Mr Maruf Olanrewaju, said that the effect of the order could be more dangerous than the Coronavirus.

This, Olanrewaju said, was because many Nigerians live from hand to month.

“If Nigerian government had heeded the early advice, that border should be closed, we will not have any reason to lockdown the nation like this.

“When the pandemic spread to Nigeria, we are now running from pillar to post in search of solution.

“On the order for lockdown, it would have been a good step if the citizens have food in their stores.

“The lockdown will cause a lot because there is hunger in the land already.

“The order that nobody should engage in commercial activities may be dangerous than the Coronavirus itself,’’ he said.

The OPCI leader urged the state government to review the measure, saying the state was not economically viable like Lagos, where a similar directive had been made.

“Lagos state is different from Kwara in term of economy.

“Until you get to Ojo Oba or Ipata market before you can get some food items, it is not so in Lagos,’’ he said, querying if government was going to provide for the residents if they are not allowed to go out.

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Muhammad Suleiman Tola