…As Intersociety Singles out Lagos State Government, Two Urban PGs in Anambra State for Commendation
The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) is deeply concerned that there is likelihood of explosion of COVID-19 infections and harvest of deaths related to same in the post COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria.
Already Governments at all levels in the country are now at crossroads as per whether to continue with the lockdown and be faced with citizens’ resistance including high rise in social disorderliness, deviances and crimes; or to discontinue same and be faced with explosion of infections and harvest of deaths.
The country’s crossroads situation is further fueled by daily spiral increase in the number of officially reported figures of infections and deaths which have doubled in the past one week to ‘873’ as ‘total infections’ and ‘28’ as total deaths as at 22rd April 2020.
Apart from increase in ‘official figures’ of the above mentioned, the Governments at all levels in the country (with exception of Lagos State) including the Federal Government have achieved little or nothing in the past one month of total lockdown. It is not only that they cannot point to a single milestone achieved, but also has been ‘fire brigade’ tactics including lies, spinning and dramatization all through.
It must be reminded that Intersociety did not believe and does still not believe the ‘official’ rate of infected persons and deaths arising from COVID-19 as given by the country’s Federal Ministry of Health and the Center for Disease Control. The Government figures are nothing more than “figures derived from random sampling”.
It is a settled formula across the world that ‘testing capacity’ including using right and adequate testing equipment and personnel is the fundamental criterion behind determination of the correct number of infected persons and categories of such infections. That is to say that “as long as citizens are not tested, their COVID-19 status must remain unknown”.
It is also a settled fact that ‘random sampling’ is never used to determine the correct or credible number of the infected persons. It is therefore a settled reasoning or logic that “the more number of persons tested, the validity and credibility of the actual ‘negatives’ and ‘positives’.
It is unsound, unscientific and unbelievable that Nigeria which tests hundreds on daily basis; with explosive population estimates of 200m (three times more than that of United Kingdom) will end up producing a total of “873” as infected persons and “28” as deaths from same.
This is more so when the United Kingdom with current population of 66.7m has been carrying out over one hundred thousand (100,000) citizens’ tests per day.
Shocking, too, is the fact that the total number of functional COVID-19 testing machines available for Nigeria’s 200m citizens is under fifteen; with maximum daily testing of ‘4000’ citizens; out of which Lagos and FCT take about 2000, while the rest of 35 States share the remaining 2000.
Disappointingly and shockingly, Lagos still carries out a maximum daily testing of hundreds, followed by the FCT, while the rest of the country have theirs in ‘tens’ since past one month.
In Anambra State, the total number of its COVID-19 tests in the past one month is under ‘50’; yet some States including Rivers State have gone to the extent of dangerously pronouncing their States as “Coronavirus free”. This is even as no single testing machine and its qualified handlers exist or reside in such States.
It is therefore most likely that tens of thousands of Nigerians are secretly living with COVID-19 in the country. In other words, the total correct number of persons presently living with COVID-19 in Nigeria is not only possibly to be in tens of thousands, but also with deaths in thousands.
This explains why the western countries including the United States and the United Kingdom are busy airlifting their nationals and diplomats from Nigeria, fearing explosion of infections and harvest of deaths in the nearest future or coming weeks.
Kano Harvest Of Deaths As Case-Study
The recent harvest of deaths in the eight Local Government Areas in Kano metropolis is another typical example. For over ‘150 persons’ to have been buried in three days, with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Center for Disease Control playing to the gallery, is very shocking and alarming; and a further confirmation of our fears and doubts. If not COVID-19, what else would have caused same? This is even when the Federal Government deliberately failed to do the needful.
The harvest of deaths should have been treated as a national emergency and the country’s Center for Disease Control relocated to the State and collected blood samples of the deceased relatives, neighbors and other close associates-who should have been located or fished out through their District Heads.
Contrarily, the authorities of the State and the Federal Government of Nigeria are busy moving from pillar to pole, creating diversion and confusion and pretending as if nothing has happened.
This is after their attempts to have the story blackened or not published in any Nigerian media failed woefully. Since it was published in the Northern Nigeria’s Daily Trust Newspaper, from where it went viral, ‘there is fire on the mountain”; with the referenced authorities ceaselessly stammering and beating about the bush.
The strongly suspected COVID-19 mass deaths in Kano were easily dictated on account of the dead being buried in public cemeteries. This further means that similar deaths were likely to have occurred in other parts of the country but became difficult to be unearthed on account of their individual burial patterns such as in Igbo Land.
The harvest of funerals which are likely to herald the rainforest parts of the country including Igbo Land after the COVID-19 lockdown will most likely attest to this fact. This is likely to be noticed particularly through their posters which will bear the dates of their passage such as “from 20th March to April/May 2020” or even up to June or July 2020.
Therefore, as Nigeria enters the rainy season with accompanying chilling cold, unless the COVID-19 gives way before then, otherwise we foresee explosion of infections and harvest of deaths. This will further be fueled by the dismantling of the country-wide lockdown and their machineries set up by Governments at all levels in the country including the Federal Government of Nigeria.
With failed early warning and emergency response systems in Nigeria, it will be very difficult, if not an act of impossibility for the named Governments to reverse, bounce back and take charge. This is more so when the country’s oil based economy has almost crashed. The authorities, for purpose of maintaining the false status quo, will likely stop at nothing in censoring or blackening the correct figures or keeping same outside the confines of publicity and public records.
Lagos State Government Has Done Well
The Government of Lagos State has truly done well in its efforts at taming the spread of COVID-19 and treating those already living with it. It is not as if the State has fully arrived or can be compared to what is obtained in the western world, but it is still next to none in terms of measures put in place and results already achieved. Based on prevailing circumstances the State has found itself or going by the realities on the ground, the Government of Lagos State has done well. The public enlightenment modes adopted by the State (use of English and native Yoruba languages) is first of its kind in the recent time Nigeria.
We Commend The PGs Of Iyiowa Layout & Fegge Housing Estate Communities
It is recalled that Intersociety had on 11th April 2020 written an open letter to Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala, demanding that the State Government should simply and release a template for anti COVID-19 germs fumigation so as to enable public spirited bodies such as community leaders and associations to fumigate their areas using direct labor. This followed the Health Commissioner’s disclosure days back at Onitsha Main Market that “anti-COVID-19 fumigation is being done with diluted sodium hypochloride in line with the provisions of the World Health Organization (WHO)”.
Our open letter also followed our discovery (even till date) that apart from the Government fumigation of 63 major markets in the State, done half hazard and not fully completed, all the residences and public facilities and arenas in the State have not been fumigated (even till date). Our open letter was specifically informed by our field findings that fumigation is the cheapest of the COVID-19 prevention measures, followed by distribution of protective devices and feeding palliatives; totality of which not only the Government of Anambra State but others across the country including Federal Government (exception of Lagos State); have either failed woefully to do or done using fire-brigade or “random sampling” tactics.
While the Government of Anambra State kept mute and failed to act or respond as demanded, good news came to us that the Onitsha Housing Estate Community Landlords/Tenants Association has taken the bull by the horn. The Association led by Chief Afam Udogaranya heeded our call and fumigated all nooks and crannies of their Estate with “anti-COVID-19 chemicals done in line with WHO’s recommendation”. Gladdened by the development, Intersociety boss, Emeka Umeagbalasi, reached out to the leadership of the Estate through a multi millionaire businessman and respected resident of the area, Engr. Ikechukwu Umeaku of TESMACO Group who supplied the contacts.
Same were immediately sent to the President Gen of Iyiowa Layout Landlords/Tenants Association, Sir Agozie Okoye. Contacts were made by the Iyiowa PG to the Evergreen Chemical Industries Ltd and on a visit to the Company the next day; he met an official of the Anambra State Ministry of Health who came to buy same COVID-19 chemicals. It was the said official who showed the Iyiowa PG the particular product used for COVID-19 fumigation and on 22nd April 2020 being yesterday, fumigation took place in all parts of the Layout. The exercise saw our Board Chair and other comrades joined and participated. Attached are some photos taken at the scene of the Iyiowa fumigation exercise.
We hereby commend President Generals Sir Agozie Okoye of Iyiowa Layout Community Association and his executives and Chief Afam Udogaranya of Fegge Housing Estate Community Association and his executives. Commended also are Engr. Ikechukwu Umeaku of TESMACO Group, Chief Ikechukwu Augustine of Evergreen Chemical Industries Ltd as well as Comrades Paschal Anigbo, Tony Eluka, Precious Chidobelu, Promise Ndukwe, Tochukwu Ibegbu (TC Angus), Barr Justus Ijeoma and Uzoma Nwadike.
It is also interesting to note that the total cost of the fumigation at Iyiowa Layout; an area housing about 700 multi storey buildings and 5,600 flat apartments in addition to sales stores, hospitals, schools and churches; was not more than N150,000. The amount includes two containers of the chemicals sold at N40, 000 each as against Government quoted price of N250, 000-N300, 000 per container; which is over six times higher than the open market price. We therefore call on other public spirited bodies in the State to emulate the two PGs by organizing themselves for purpose of fumigating their areas and possibly rid same of the deadly Coronavirus
The above was the position of the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law as contained in a statement issued today and signed by its four principal officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair, Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head of Democracy & Good Governance and Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku, Head of Field Data Collection & Documentation.
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