The Civil Society Alliance Against COVID-19 (CSAA COVID-19) in Nigeria has condemned the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, and other top politicians, who refused to quarantine and self-isolate themselves after visiting high-risk countries in recent times.
In a statement jointly signed by 38 CSOs, the CSAA COVID-19 posited that the actions of the politicians had exposed the Nigerian public to risk of infection.
Recall that Kyari and governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, have tested positive for Covid-19.
The CSAA COVID-19 stated that some members of the National Assembly and governors such as those of Abia, Enugu and Imo have been seen at public events within the last 14 days since returning from overseas.
The group urged politicians and other Nigerians, who have travelled outside the country, to cooperate with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control as well as abide by laid-down safety precautions to isolate themselves.
“At this time, we send all of our support and prayers to NCDC, the Ministry of Health, and all of the medical professionals putting themselves at risk to address this situation.
“We also stand with all of those who have been in contact with politicians, who have acted recklessly and must now endure testing, isolation, and probably repeated screening along with their families and loved ones.
“All those who have created risks must immediately cooperate with the authorities and not in any way slow the exercise in damage limitation,” the statement reads.
The group also said that Nigeria had to plan for the worst, which is a significant rise in the number of infections over the next two to four weeks.
It added that this would require an extraordinary scaling up of the capacity of the NCDC, state task forces and civil societies.
The group urged government to pay more attention to vulnerable and poor Nigerians as they could be threatened by measures being taken to curb the spread of the virus.
“It will require the government, private sector, civil society and our religious bodies to work together to ensure that testing takes place, preventive humanitarian response is coordinated, and that measures across the board are ramped up.
“We demand that attention is paid to the most vulnerable in our society. While urgent measures need to be taken, they must be well thought through and not harm low income earners and those whose very survival could easily be threatened by badly administered lockdowns.
“The Federal Government and states must immediately formulate and engage teams that include non-government actors capable of collaborating on this extraordinary challenge.”