Thu. Aug 13th, 2020

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COVID-19 CSOs Accuse NCDC Of Misinformation On Pandemic, Creating Panic

The Conference of Harmonised Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria has accused the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) of misinforming the government and citizenry in the management of the dreaded COVID-19.

The CSOs at a press conference held in Abuja and addressed by the convener, Save Nigeria Movement, Semaka SS while stating its position alleged that the continued lockdown of the country with its attendant negative implications on the economy and life of the citizenry was as result of misinformation from the NCDC which it argued had created panic more than help in curbing the spread of the virus.

“The agency has demonstrated clearly that it’s capacity for handling this and many other emergencies is overrated and over stretched. But the NCDC is committed to sustaining negative panic in order to match with the fund at its disposal at the moment. This strategy is not only unpatriotic but fundamentally harmful to the collective survival of the country”.

The group further urged the federal government to take the lead in the face of the current global health crisis by championing transparency through NCDC approaches.

Read full text below:

STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

By: CONFERENCE OF HARMONISED CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN NIGERIA

ANCHORED BY:

SAVE NIGERIA MOVEMENT

THEME: REALITY VS FICTION: THE COMMERCIALISATION AND MERCHANDISATION OF THE COVID-19 IN NIGERIA BY NCDC.

Fellow Comrades, my dear compatriots, the Press, ladies and gentlemen.

As you all have come to know and understand , our country Nigeria has come to join the frenzy in the face of what seem to be a global epidemic and a major health crisis. The Covid 19 virus which started in 2019 as we have it today is traced to the city of Wuhan, in the peoples republic of China. Statistics record that it first reared its ugly head in Nigeria on February 27 2020 through a foreigner. Following which, the federal government took a number of steps it considered proactive to further stem the tide of the epidemic in the country. Almost all of this proactive measures were spearheaded by the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) and the presidential Task Force on COVID-19. Interestingly, a number of state governments had to also evolve out their protocols and procedures to safeguard their people in line with the direction of the federal government as championed by NCDC and the task force. Fundamental among this safety protocols included the shutdown of public enterprises and restrictions of movement.

Now, Ladies and gentlemen from February 27 to this very day, our country has almost gone aground in terms of economic implications of the lockdown. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Presidential Task Force has been largely responsible for this continued lockdown of the nation. This; they have achieved and continue to achieve through blatant misinformation of the masses and the governments at all levels.

This state of the union address is aimed at first, bringing the attention of Nigerians and the world to salient points and suspicions that deserve critical evaluation beyond the mere window dressing they are currently receiving.

  1. LOCKDOWN:

Ladies and gentlemen fellow Comrades, the country has been on lockdown from March 30 ,2020 to this day. We are yet to get clear cut timelines as to when the lockdown will be totally lifted for public life which is the life wire of the economy to begin. To worsen matters, no much progress is made in the interregnum by the NCDC, between when shutdown was enforced and now…what progress have we made against the COVD-19? The civil service, businesses and individual ventures have been almost paralyzed due to the effect of this lockdown on account of the pandemic and NCDC misinformation.

Now, let us interject the issues as we have them today in Nigeria having in mind what is obtained for an instance, in USA or even Wuhan in China where the virus originated. These cities have far more casualties than anywhere else in the world but they are not obsessed with lockdown because of the negative impact on their economy and how it would ultimately affect the masses psychologically.

But ironically, in Nigeria, it is agencies like NCDC whose responsibility it is, to research and restore confidence in the masses that is feeding the government and the masses with scary unsubstantiated statistics upon which the continued lockdown is imminent. To us, in the civil society, this is not only a fraudulent scheme employed but also a clearly deliberate attempt by NCDC to commercialize the epidemic at the expense of national economy.

2.PROPOSED VACCINE BILL:

We are by now, all aware of the sudden introduction of a bill in the national assembly to make the vaccine against COVID-19 compulsory. We are not oblivious of the allegations of financial inducement from foreign agents leveled against the leadership of the House of Representatives which poses a great threat to our collective survival. It also poses security implications if this is true. We are also aware of the commercial interests of public figures like Bill Gates, Jack ma, etc regarding the proposed legislation on the vaccination against the virus. This issues are scary, we are unable to see a clear path of transparency by the authorities accused and this calls for sober reflection as a people and for more mass monitoring of the times.

  1. TESTING:

We live in a country of about (200) million people. We are told of the influx of a virus that spreads like wildfire. Yet, the NCDC, while advocating for a long periods of lockdown is unable to respond to the very least of responsibility, which is testing. The NCDC has demonstrated through various testimonials from the masses that the agency is unable and unworthy to carry out a reliable, responsive testing feedback mechanism. How do we harmonised the testing of less than (100,000) Nigerians out of over 200 million people? How do we commend that in terms of per capita testing? Meanwhile the USA with the highest number of infections and deaths has not closed down the economy in perpetuity. China is up and running, what then are we doing in Nigeria other than misinformation and confrontation?

  1. NCDC CREATING ARTIFICIAL PANIC THROUGH MISINFORMATION

The panic button utilised by the NCDC is just to continue to scare governments, and the masses and cause confusion for selfish gains. We have many other diseases like LASSA fever, malaria, etc that kills more than the COVID-19 even as we speak. Over 655 deaths of LASSA fever recorded in the last few months in Nigeria. Malaria remains the highest killer of children. Why then is the COVID-19 and it’s promotion an issue of priority to NCDC more than focusing on research and reliable testing?

  1. ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF LOCKDOWN FOR THE NATION AND THE MASSES.

The Nigerian government, guided by the NCDC has introduced the lockdown and signed a number of executive orders in an attempt to stem the further spread of the virus in Nigeria .This is no doubt commendable but to what extent has this brought us reprieve as a country fighting an epidemic rather than mutilate and strangle our already struggling economy? People are no longer going to work, people can no longer go to their businesses. More than 100 million Nigerians live on daily sustainable businesses. How then do such populations cope with the lockdown and palpable fear which unfortunately is self inflicted ?

  1. PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE LOCKDOWN ON THE MASSES.

The crux of the economic implications is the resultant effect of the inability of people to go about their normal routine to raise money for their upkeep due to no fault of theirs and more sadly without a clear template as to when it will end. This can bring and has brought untold psychological hardship on the masses. It will make us lose productivity and in the end, it’s the economy that suffers the brunt.

  1. LACK OF SYNERGY BETWEEN NCDC AND STATE GOVERNMENTS.

There is an apparent lack of synergy between the NCDC which is at the centre of managing this pandemic. This is glaring in the face of several altercations with officials of NCDC and some state governments, they’ ve had issues in many states on concerns of protocol and other support essentials. The NCDC appears to be unprepared yet determined to be unable to welcome any feedback from any quarters on the way forward. For example; it takes NCDC several weeks to take samples from states and return results. This results are processed in conditions that only God knows. The agency has demonstrated clearly that it’s capacity for handling this and many other emergencies is overrated and over stretched. But the NCDC is committed to sustaining negative panic in order to match with the fund at the disposal of the Organisation at the moment. This strategy is not only unpatriotic but fundamentally harmful to the collective survival of the country. There is also the issue of poor information management system whose effectiveness would have been useful had it been well coordinated by the NCDC. This lack of synergy contribute 80% mistrust ongoing between some state governments and NCDC.

  1. ISOLATION CENTRES AND TREATMENT OF COVID-19 PATIENTS.

The NCDC has over the period updated Nigerians on the internet with statistics of cases so far tested , treated and discharged as well as those who have died.

We have always asked fundamental questions, those who recover from this virus, what’s the medication?

Why can’t everyone who is willing to be tested be able to get tested and in good time?

Why create a mystery around the testing and treatment of COVID-19 while the masses continue to panic ?

We’ve had high profile citizens like the governors of Kaduna, and Bauchi states all recovering from the COVID-19. But the NCDC continues to create panic in the face of the challenges, this is totally unacceptable.

There was one index case according to the Benue state government, she denied been ever infected. The NCDC confirmed she was, after over (52 ) days in isolation under NCDC, without a single treatment, she was asked to live after threatening legal suits against the government. Now, was she no longer infected with the virus? If yes, what was the treatment? If she was still infected, why release her?

It would appear to us, ladies and gentlemen that much more is going on than we can ever see over this global health crisis in Nigeria.

9.UNACCOUNTED FUNDS FOR COVID 19 VIRUS.

The NCDC has received a number of interventions from the government and even private sector concerns, what is the extent of the utilisation of this funds vis a vis the research progress for a cure rather than daily graphic and non existent statistics that portends nothing but panic and negative economic and psychological implications on the masses and the country. We urge the NCDC to account for the funds and live up to her mandate.

  1. KOGI SCENARIO:

For example ladies and gentlemen, Kogi state government in its proactive approach and wisdom already has a well equipped medical facility that has handled other health emergencies in the past. The Government of Kogi in her readiness to protect the people also outlined her protocols to stem the tide of the corona virus in the country. This protocols are to be observed by everyone including the NCDC officials who visit the state. This means that for any success regarding the COVID-19 in the state, there must be a seamless line of synergy between the Kogi state government and the NCDC in the over all benefit of the people. We are constrained to note however, that the NCDC is not disposed to this cooperation. The NCDC haste in declaring the influx of the virus in Kogi state against all odds is suspect. We understand the people are disturbed by glaring inconsistencies of the NCDC in the handling of this pandemic.

OUR POSITION:

That the NCDC be prevailed upon by stakeholders to ensure transparency and accountability in the discharge of her duties to achieve higher results.

That state governments be allowed and supported to carry out research and other necessary feasibility with a view to stemming COVID-19 and other health emergencies in future.

That we commend the various state governments particularly Kogi and Cross River states for their proactive roles which has rebuilt confidence of masses.

We further urge the federal government to take the lead in the face of the current global health crisis by championing transparency through NCDC approaches.

We wish to reinstate that the COVID-19 is real but should not be elevated to levels such that it can create enormous panic, elude the masses confidence and ultimately destroy the economy of the nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, the SAVE NIGERIA MOVEMENT with the active participation of over 100 civil society organizations will be presenting periodic reports on the COVID-19 progress based on nationwide appraisals .

Thank you for your Audience.

SEMAKA SS
convener
SAVE NIGERIA MOVEMENT.

RICHARD ODUMA
Convener
Conference Of minority Tribes in Nigeria.

AGBA Paul.
Coordinator,
Conference Of Harmonised civil society organisations in Nigeria.

Alfred Aibom
Executive Director.
Local NGOs Network.

Rose Ogwuche esq.
Coordinator.
Society For Gender Reforms.

Bishop Abel King.
President.
College of Clergy Councils in Nigeria.

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