Covid-19 cases in Nigeria are surging, and that is a very big problem. Looking at the state of the economy at the moment, another lockdown would be extremely challenging for the nation. Yet, you have human lives at risk. Personally, I will not vote for another shutdown (do not attack me for writing that, see this as a debate); the cascading impacts on a shutdown will trigger an avalanche of more unemployment, extended recession and higher level of insecurity.
My proposal would be the following:
- Get the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to do its job and make people take Covid-19 more seriously by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, etc. That messaging should reach religious bodies, companies, tribal leaders and the whole citizenry.
- Enforce the covid-19 safety protocols as documented by Nigeria’s center for disease control. Do this through monetary fines and be thorough on the execution of the framework.
- Encourage work from home where possible; this of course is theoretical as our telcos continue to underperform on providing reliable internet services. But yet, push and encourage that as any effort helps.
- Safely guard the international airports. The news that Nigeria has suspended 100 passports of people who arrived from abroad, but refused to do the follow-up covid-19 tests, while extreme, should be a lesson. If that is what the playbook says, we need to enforce everything.
Sure, we can “lockdown” some sectors like sports, nightclubs and some activities which bring many people together at scale in restricted spaces. But apart from those, Nigeria needs to do all to avoid another shutdown.
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