• Friday, September 29, 2023
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Buhari made right call in lockdown easing, poll suggests

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The decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to ease lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja from May 4 has been praised by most Nigerians in a recent BusinessDay poll.

Fifty-seven percent of participants said the President made the right decision while 43% did not support the decision in the poll that; suggests mixed reaction to Buhari’s speech on Monday amid a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

“Right or wrong decision will be determined by people’s compliance with the safety measures and government putting a strong monitoring and enforcement to the cause,” said Tunji, a poll participant. “There is still time to put everything right before May 4th.”

In an earlier poll, 54% of participants had voted for a further extension of lockdown while 46% voted against such a measure. The change in view could be attributed to the proposed gradual easing of the lockdown as opposed to a total reopening of the economy.

Under the phased lifting of the lockdown which would be in three phases over six weeks, the Federal Government will evaluate outcomes after an initial two weeks from Monday to determine if it would maintain, reverse or further ease the lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State.

Under the first phase, FG said activities in select sectors like agricultural sector, public works, air and road transportation would resume subject to an 8pm-6am general curfew while selected offices would open from 9am to 2pm.

Use of facemasks has been mandated as well as social-distancing practices, while individuals below 15 or above 49 are advised to stay indoors. Schools, sport and religious gatherings, hospitality services, concerts and social parties remain banned under phase one.

Phase two will see further relaxation on sectors opened in phase one and additional sectors will be allowed to operate as federal or state governments deem fit. Under phase two, travel restrictions will be reduced and the implementation of the phase would be decided by state governments to fit their unique situations.

President Buhari on Monday also announced a two-week lockdown in Kano and a ban on interstate travels except for moving food, drugs and a few other essentials.

Cases of novel coronavirus Thursday rose by 204, the highest new cases till date, to 1,932 cases with 319 recoveries and 58 deaths.

Lagos, the country’s virus epicentre, has 976 cases while Abuja and Ogun remain the 3rd and 6th worst-hit states.