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Third Case Of Corona Virus: CHRICED Calls For Travel Restriction To Prevent Spread In Nigeria

With a third positive case of COVID-19 recorded today in Lagos, Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) calls on the Federal Government to immediately take urgent and drastic measures to halt the spread of the virus in Nigeria. In line with preventative steps, the government should immediately consider the option of temporarily restricting foreign travels, especially from countries which pose the highest risk. While we commend the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for the professionalism with which it has been bravely fighting the earlier cases recorded, through quarantine measures and contact tracing, we believe the Federal Government should show urgency by taking steps to stop the importation of the virus into Nigeria. With the reality of the third case that has now been recorded, there is no better time than now to impose travel restrictions. This is the next logical step to take because many of the high-risk countries have themselves already imposed stringent travel restrictions to curtail the exponential rate of infections. We see no reason why Nigeria is not taking similar measures to prevent spread. CHRICED wonders if the government prefers to wait for the virus to spread and infect citizens on an unimaginable scale before it takes real steps to contain it. It is strange and disconcerting, to say the least for the Nigerian government to always wait for situations like these to escalate before adopting a fire brigade approach to solving the problem. Nigeria can simply save itself the risks and dangers of the virus spreading, and overwhelming our fragile health system by restricting travel for some weeks. We see no wisdom in waiting for the rate of infections within Nigeria to rise before drastic measures are taken. We call on the government, not to treat issues that pose dangers to the health, welfare and well-being of citizens with levity. This is the same disregard with which serious national threats like the Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping, collapse of education and healthcare were treated, leading to the kind of crisis we now face. Added to the preceding is the urgent need for President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation on the COVID-19 situation. A full presidential address becomes critical at this time because public awareness about Corona Virus in Nigeria remains very low. The President should be an integral part of the communication process, to build confidence and help raise the awareness of citizens. This is no time for statements by presidential spokespersons; the President has to take charge, and take action, which will help halt the spread of the dreaded virus. A stitch in time, as the saying goes, saves nine.


Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi

Executive Director

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