Com. Alex Omotehinse, President, CHSR and Com. Agbedina Kehinde, CHSR’s General Secretary, during the press Conference of the State of the Nation, held recently in Lagos
Centre Tasks FG On New National Population Census
Centre for Human and Socio-Economic Rights (CHSR) called on the Federal government to have State residents data and census, for an effective social welfare policy and system for all Nigerians.
CHSR said the call for State residents’ data and census across the country, became imperative, due to the failure of the governments at all level to give adequate palliatives to Nigerians, during the lockdown occasioned by the dreaded Corona Virus Disease, codenamed COVID-19.
CHSR also called on the federal government to conduct a new and comprehensive national population census, effectively, from June 1, 2020, without any delay, this it said would enable the government to know the number of citizens to take care of in a situation as the COVID-19.
CHSR, through its National President, Comrade Alex Omotehinse, made the call at its maiden press conference held recently in Lagos. While also described the easing of the lockdown as ‘wickedness’.
In his speech, Comrade Omotehinse, said it was the due to the failure of the federal government to provide palliatives to the vulnerable Nigerians and to get achievable result, forced it to ease the lockdown. The result he attributed to the soaring number of infected persons.
The Centre’s statement on COVID-19 reads in part: “the recent events and happening in our Country and indeed in our various states clearly shows that we have lost it and that we have no good Government nor leadership.
“The Covid-19, have clearly show us the total lack of needed infrastructure, system and processes in nation building and sustenance, the failure of the successive government to put the larger majority as the center stage of developmental process.
“On Sunday, 29th day of March, 2020, the Nigeria President, President Mohammadu Buhari in a nationwide broadcast forcefully imposed a 14 days’ Iockdown on Lagos State, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja with the excuse to curtail the spread of COVID-19 effect from 11:00pm on Monday 30th day of March, 2020.
“At the expiration of the first 14 days lockdown, Mr. President in another nationwide broadcast extended the lockdown by slamming us with another 14 days that lapsed on Monday 27th day of April, 2020. It is on record that throughout the month of April 2020, Ogun State and Lagos State (the industrial and economics) capital of Nigeria were shutdown stopping all economic and social activities within the period.
“The lockdown policy according to Mr. President was aimed at curtailing and stopping the spread of Covid-19 virus, but it ends up meaningless, as we witnessed increase of the virus across the country and this inflicted and has continue to inflict untold hardship and sufferings on the Nigeria masses in a country where majority of our populace lives on their daily earnings and wages.
“It is no longer news that during the Iockdown period, hoodlums, cultists and armed robbers who are unable to make their daily extortions started visiting homes to wreck! havoc on the people that were already traumatized by the unexpected lockdown.
“On Monday 27th day of April, 2020, the president tactically extends the lockdown announcing easing of the lockdown in Ogun, Lagos State and Abuja with effect from 9:00am on Monday 4th of May 2020 and imposed a curfew from 8pm to 6am then pronounced a two weeks’ lockdown in Kano state while putting measure in place to still address the spread of the same coronavirus pandemic he promised to addressed since 29th of march 2020.
“The CHSR believes that easing the lockdown at this critical time is ‘wickedness’ on the arm of our government, as the federal government action and is not the best decision, when the index cases are still increasing on daily basis.
“Therefore, Nigerians should pray very well so that God will not allow us to experience situation the likes of Italy, Spain, France America and others that find themselves in this wicked easing of the Iockdown when the testing capability is still far below expectations”.
The Centre therefore urged the federal government to address the issue of palliatives to vulnerable Nigerians instead of easing the lockdown, which it said had lead to the increase in numbers of infected persons.
“Since Monday 4th day of May 2020 Nigerians from far and near most especially in Lagos state has started going about their daily affairs without care or fear of the virus, in fact some Nigerians at this point still don’t believe that this covid-19 is real.
“The federal government should have addressed the issue of the palliatives by ensuring it get down to the vulnerable Nigerians instead of easing the lockdown and leaving Nigerians to their fate after wasting the whole 34 days in lockdown without any meaningful result of arresting the covid-19 pandemic.
“The State and Federal government should be blame for allowing the virus to spread beyond control going by the level of our public health sector and if it continue this way the worst may happen, many people will be left to die as treatment will be according to your status because it will come at cost then it will be the masses that will suffers it.
On Curfew, CHSR called both Lagos and Ogun States to review the period of the curfew, as the scheduled time will create more untold hardship on Nigerians in the hands of the security agencies commissioned to monitor compliance.
“The idea of implementing curfew in Lagos and Ogun State between the hour of 8pm in the night to 6am in the morning cannot work in Lagos state due to the traffic congestion in the state.
“Presently, in Lagos State by virtue of the lay down rules and due to the social distancing policy being introduced since the outbreak of the covid-19, the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation has given directives to all commercial vehicles operators to ensure that they don’t load beyond 60% of the total capacity of their vehicles and the BRT buses must not carry more than one passenger per seat.
“With this, the movement of commuters to and fro their various destinations and to beat the 8pm deadline is not achievable rather it will create ample opportunities for law enforcement agencies to extort and molest Lagosians under the pretence of enforcing a so-called presidential order on curfew.
“We hereby call on the Lagos state governor and his Ogun State counterpart to as a matter of urgency call on the president to reverse the curfew and look for another measure to avoid creating anarchy in their states”.
Apart from calling on both Lagos and Ogun States governments to reverse the curfew, the Centre also demanded a new National Population Census with Immediate effect from the 1st day of June 2020 without any delay; State Resident Data/Census for an effective social welfare policy and system for all citizen and implementation of the chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria, these it said will be justifiable to all Nigerians.
The Centre also asked the Lagos State government to considers 75% of the total capacity of the commercial vehicles instead of 60℅, this it said will be in the in the Interest of the operators’ socioeconomic life and the commuters that will pay the fares.
Omotehinse while wishing all the victims of the Coronavirus currently receiving treatments at different Centres in Nigeria a quick recovery, also sympathized with the family and friends of those that died due the Covid-19 pandemic. He also prayed to Almighty God to take control and heal the world from this deadly virus.