Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, has sounded a note of warning to the federal and state governments on factors capable of undermining the goal of the nationwide lockdown intended to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Prof Ogunyemi gave the warning in a release titled “COVID-19: Together We Shall Win,” which he issued on Thursday and was made available to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
According to him, without a reasonable supply of electricity, water and an unbroken chain of food items, the emerging lockdown of the country might not achieve its desired result of promoting self-quarantine, self-isolation, and social distancing, public measures necessary to curb the spread of the virus.
The Federal Government had announced a total lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States, as well as Federal Capital Territory earlier in the week. Some states have also announced partial or total lockdowns as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Ogunyemi, who noted that the ASUU’s intervention in distributing sanitisers, and other sensitisation materials to check the spread of COVID-19 had taken place at the University of Ibadan and University of Jos, said the gesture would be replicated in all chapters of the union nationwide.
The intervention materials produced by the UI chapter of the union included over one thousand 100ml of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, sensitisation jingles in Pidgin and English languages, posters in three major languages of Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa and English, as well as hand gloves. Some of the materials were on Tuesday presented to some media organisations, Jaja Clinic UI, and University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
The ASUU President stated: “Access to electricity and running water and an unbroken chain of food supply and availability of other essential items should be key components of the policy called ‘lockdown.’ Unless the people’s survival needs are factored into the equation, governments at the national and sub-national levels may be courting an uncontrollable regime of rebellion, which may be counter-productive to the cause of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“It can be argued that no issue has ever brought humanity so close for many decades as recently done by the coronavirus or COVID-19. The lesson in all of this is that more than ever before, the world has come to realize that issues of health and safety know no territorial boundaries and political leaders everywhere had better worked with everyone to make our world safe for all. ASUU subscribes to this winning formula and path to collective health.
“In this our shared globe, no one is safe epidemiologically, socially or physically until everyone is safe. We can conquer the fear emerging from the manifestation of this global pandemic in our little corners. We can contribute to the global movement for prevention and control of its spread by applying the health guides and information from the World Health Organisation and other professional institutions and agencies in our personal and family lives as well as by sharing them to help others around us stay safe and healthy.”