Fred Itua, Abuja
Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe has cautioned against the planned extension of a nationwide lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said resorting to the extra measures would ignite a major economic and security crisis that could hurt many Nigerians who depend on daily earnings for their sustenance.
He warned that pushing for it could be combustible and counterproductive as the people appear too worn-out to soak in further shocks.
“I will rather opt for a cautious and guided lifting of the lockdown where the existing measures like protective barriers such as the compulsory wearing of face masks, use of hand sanitiers and other associated sanitary and hygiene precautions are enforced in public places.
“Aside from the above, daily disinfection of halls, rooms, vehicles, vessels, surroundings et al, must become the new normal. Doing these would definitely tamp the hot air and guide our people to resume their normal life.
“My fear is that majority of our people in the informal sector are daily earners hence their survival is predicated on their going out daily if they must survive. Our people operate mostly in the commercial sector, I have the feeling that further extension of the lockdown would hurt the people the more,” he said.
The senator appealed to the authorities to seriously ponder the economic and security implications of a further extension of the lockdown on the people and on the country as a whole.
The Abia senator, meanwhile, applauded the police, particularly the Inspector-General, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, for his prompt action in arresting the dangerous slide into a major crisis in Abia State, over reported cases of extrajudicial killings by men of the police force.
Abaribe, in a statement in Abuja by his Media Adviser, Uchenna Awom, said the police chief acted wisely to effect the changes in the police leadership in its Abia State command as well as ordering an investigation into the various police killings, especially the brutal Ohafia episode, which resulted in a violent reaction by a section of the citizenry.
Abaribe said he hopes the measures taken by police authorities would be far-reaching enough and that the probe will unearth the culprits for appropriate punishment such that will mitigate against a further occurrence not only in the South-East but every part of Nigeria.
The lawmaker, who also frowned at the misrepresentation by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on the circumstances that led to the alleged police brutal killing of the petrol attendant in Ogbor Hill, Aba, nonetheless, appealed to the petrol workers (NUPENG) to exercise patience on their threat to embark on strike over the matter.
“It is unfortunate that a top government official would delve into a matter that he is not connected with to tell ugly tales, even when the police had owned up to the gruesome incident. Justice must be done in the matter, this I can assure. Notwithstanding, I appeal to NUPENG to wait for the outcome of the investigation into the matter,” the senator said.