It is not my originality but one point I took away from what Mr Azu Ishiekwene, Editor of The Interview, says in his piece titled “Lockdown: A radical view”.
I was a bit worried when President Buhari did not insist that wearing a nose mask is compulsory in public places (regardless that Nigerians would not listen) as he had to extend the selective lockdown approach while rightly leaving local authorities to adopt what they consider best responses to this global problem that calls for local solutions. Nevertheless, Azu makes quite a number of viewpoints which the authorities might want to think about.
He says, for example,
“Until a few days ago, I was a big fan of testing, testing, testing. I still believe testing is important because data, reliable data, ought to direct action. But considering where we are at today (about 6,000 tests so far, and at an official figure of 500 daily), it will take 3,600 days or 10 years to test one percent, that is 1.8m of our population or five years, if we double the testing rate.
Therefore, instead of locking people down for another two weeks hoping that they’ll be looked after by the head of a presidential task force who didn’t know our hospitals were in a shambles till now, we should take the COVID-19 bull by the horns.”
Also that “instead of concentrating test kits in a few locations, some private hospitals can be encouraged to open test centres, while the Federal Government focuses on expanding laboratories from the present 12 and helping states set up Coronavirus wards in more public hospitals.”
“Buhari’s promise to expand the social safety register by one million is commendable, but fraught and daunting. It is also significant that Buhari addressed the country twice in two weeks, to underscore the emergency of the moment and a break from the president’s character in his five-year presidency. Yet, his speech could have gone much farther.”
And more in the full essay at