The recent COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Federal Government has continued to spark reactions from concerned Nigerians and stakeholders.
The reinstatement of curfew and other restrictions across the nation is coming on the heels of insecurity which recently escalated to all regions of the country.
Banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen attacks and the activities of ‘unknown gunmen’ in both the South-East and South-South have relatively ‘drained the glory’ of Nigeria as both civilians and security operatives are killed helplessly.
Amid the security crisis, the Federal Government on Monday announced a fresh COVID-19 restriction, hitherto imposed to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.
Boss Mustapha, who is the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, during the briefing of the task force in Abuja, announced the closure of all bars, nightclubs, pubs and event centres, as well as recreational centres in all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
All restaurants were also directed to close, except those providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries, and drive-ins.
Similarly, all informal and formal festivity events, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events, have been restricted to not more than 50 people.
This, to some Nigerians, is fresh nationwide lockdown which according to some, would further worsen the already ‘depressed’ economy.
Meanwhile, some have questioned the move by the Federal Government to impose a fresh lock down, citing the COVID-19 vaccination which is currently ongoing in many parts of the country.
Recall that Nigeria on March 1st, took delivery of nearly four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to the country in batches within the year.
Upon arrival, samples were handed to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) for further examination, after which the agency certified the vaccines safe and effective for use, according to Nigerian’s Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire.
The Federal Government subsequently commenced the COVID-19 vaccination, beginning with healthcare workers who are often at the risk of exposure to infections being the first responders to patients.
DAILY POST reports that the vaccination exercise has continued across the country since President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo took their jabs on March 6 on live camera.
Some concerned Nigerians who spoke with DAILY POST correspondent lamented the new restriction, stressing that the Federal Government was expected to focus on tackling the security crisis which has claimed several lives in less than three months instead of fresh lockdown.
An event manager in the Federal Capital Territory, Agbo Mathew Adah, said the restriction would impose more hardship on Nigerians owing to the current economic situation birthed by insecurity.
“Last year, there was a total lockdown due to COVID-19 which held the world hostage, this year, since January, it has been killings upon killings and the hardship is even worse than it was in 2020.
“So are they trying to combine the 2020 predicament to what we are already facing? I don’t think it will work.
“If the government care about the citizens as they claim, they should be more concerned about how we feed and survive in the face of this horrible hardship.
“Herdsmen have taken over farmlands and we cannot afford the usual two square meals. Visit the market and you will understand the plight of the common Nigerian.
A member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Benue State University Chapter who preferred not to be mentioned, told DAILY POST that some of the restrictions, particularly the 50 persons per gathering may not work.
“It is better they shut down the system as they did in 2020. You can’t introduce such restriction in a university like ours where population is always a challenge.
“How do you deliver your lecture to a class of over 700 students if you are to follow such restriction? It’s practically impossible.
“How many of the students even believe in the COVID-19 stories? We force them most times to observe the protocols.
“I don’t allow anyone into my class without a face mask which at least can help contain the spread. But population is always our challenge.
A student of the University of Abuja, Mary Chukwu, said the COVID-19 story “is a scam”.
“It is like the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has gone out of cash, so they need to bring back the story.
“It is unfortunate that the Federal Government is bringing this up at this time when insecurity has taken over the nation. How many people have died due to the virus since 2020 compared to the lives lost in just a few months due to security crisis?
“The earlier we stop deceiving ourselves and face what is facing us, the best for all Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, efforts by DAILY POST correspondent to reach officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, went unsuccessful as at press time.
However, a health worker, Mercy Onuh who spoke with a DAILY POST correspondent from Lokoja, the Kogi State capital said the new directive may not be unconnected to the Indian COVID-19 strain which was recently discovered in Nigeria.
DAILY POST reports that the FG a few days ago disclosed that the dreaded COVID-19 strain, which is currently ravaging India, was found in Nigeria.
The strain was reportedly detected by the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State
Speaking further, the COVID-19 frontline nurse, said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control was being proactive to ensure the new variant is contained.
“This Indian COVID-19 variant is correctly dealing with them there. They record no fewer than 4,000 deaths daily.
“We wouldn’t want such ‘hell’ to befall the nation, so I applaud the NCDC for acting fast to prevent this dangerous disease from spreading forth.
When asked why such a reaction should be in place despite the vaccines available, she said “that you have been vaccinated is not a guarantee that you cannot spread the virus.
“Besides, how many Nigerians have taken the vaccines? Just a few persons besides health workers. It may be shocking to tell you that some health workers don’t believe in this vaccine due to religious influence.”