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CSOs ask Buhari to clarify ‘stay at home’ order

CSOs ask Buhari to clarify ‘stay at home’ order
March 30
20:37 2020
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A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to clarify his “stay at home” order.

The group, under the aegis of Civil Society Alliance Against COVID19 (CSAA-COVID19), also asked the federal government to take full advantage of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja order to boost its efforts in curtailing coronavirus.

The groups said while they welcome the idea of a lockdown, the move in itself is not enough solution.

Buhari had in his nationwide broadcast on Sunday ordered the lockdown of Lagos, Abuja and Ondo states as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

They asked the government to “use the time that they buy to address critical gaps in defences against COVID19, otherwise the sacrifices forced by the lockdowns will be in vain”.

They listed the steps needed to be taken to include “urgently strengthening health systems; radically improving protection for health and essential workers; and massively scaling capacity to test for COVID-19”.

They also asked the government to clarify its “stay at home” order, asking it to exclude “those who play essential supporting roles” from the restriction.

“We also wish to highlight that essential services must be broadened to recognized those who play essential supporting roles, for example, cleaners of facilities that remain open – hospitals, filling stations, and police offices – whose uninterrupted efforts can save as many lives as doctors and nurses. We therefore seek clarity and care in the application of the new ‘stay at home’ order and commensurate effort in communicating the details that the public and businesses need to understand to ensure that enforcement does not do more harm than good.

“Families complying with the ‘stay at home’ order also need clarification on the modalities of going out to seek food supplies or health care services, or take exercise that can be essential to physical and mental health in such times, lest the interpretation of the order be left in the hands of law enforcement.”

The coalition further called on members of the elite and political class who returned from foreign trips to isolate themselves and get tested.

“We note that by all accounts, far too many of the political elite have undertaken high-risk travel and then behaved extremely recklessly upon their return. Some of the impacts are already visible but the greatest danger lies in those cases where at risk or likely COVID19 positive politicians and their associates fail to come forward or be accountable to NCDC,” it read. 

“We call on all of Nigeria’s representatives and elites to come forward openly and honestly if they or their staff, extended family members and non-politically exposed associates have had COVID19 exposure or high-risk engagements.” 

They commended the efforts of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the federal ministry of health for their efforts in tackling the disease, while calling on all Nigerians to adhere to all the stipulated guidelines needed to curb its spread.

Some of the groups in the coalition are Center for Impact Advocacy, Development Dynamics, Global Rights, House of Justice, Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD), Justice& Empowerment Initiatives (JEI), Molluma Medico-Legal Centre, Nigeria Mourns and Rule of Law & Accountability.

Also in the coalition are SBM Intelligence, SilverchipFox, Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN), Tap Nitiative for Citizens Development and YouthHub.

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