Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra state has observed that the outright closure of markets by the state government over coronavirus pandemic may trigger off acute hunger and deaths.
The party in a statement signed and issued to Journalists in Awka yesterday by the state publicity secretary, Mr.Okelo Madukaife, explained that it was not against government insisting that all markets should be shut down as a preventive strategy to contain the dreaded Covid-19 but that such decision could be counterproductive.
The APC argued that rather than implement total lockdown of all the markets, the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) should have restricted its sanction on major markets only while other small markets would be open for citizens to shop to avoid deaths resulting from hunger and privation.
The statement reads, “Our party is not opposed to some emergency measures taken by Anambra State Government so far in keeping Coronavirus at bay.
“We acknowledge that Coronavirus is a threat to the health and well being of Anambra State, Nigeria and the world, but wish to challenge Anambra State Government to manage this crisis in the most creative way without endangering the health of the citizens in alternative ways.
“To this extent, we do not agree that all markets in Anambra State should be shut down. Instead, we propose a discriminatory approach that shuts down major markets, serving markets outside Nigeria and Anambra State and close the entry points into Anambra State serving them to avert importation of the virus from other states.
“Along the same line, predominantly local markets serving the urban residential and rural areas should remain open and health workers from State Ministry of Health and reinforcements drawn on secondment from other departments to operate the health precautions of this period.
“We note that it is not out of place to supplement the cost of living in this emergency period, but will allow government their being addressed as governnent by working out the details, as hunger will in certain circumstances be a faster killer in Anambra State, than CoronaVirus. That is the other way to harm the health of the citizenry.
“In Coronavirus, we see a crisis and yet an opportunity for the resurgence of Anambra State economy. For instance, and to limit the example to one, there is acute shortage of tissue paper in the United Kingdom, due to this pandemic. But there are over 50 tissue paper manufacturers of standard in Anambra State. This is the time for government to galvanise them and earn true foreign exchange in export, not the one created by past propaganda.
“We note with apprehension, that in all plans and in some cases empty rhetorics so far rolled out by Anambra State Government, no role has been allocated to the 21 Local Government Areas in the state. Yet many of the aspects dabbled into by the state government, in a try-your-luck fashion are roles prescribed by law to LGs.
“We see the task to stem the spread of Coronavirus as a collective one and urge the State Government to demonstrate visibly that some of these measures being put out, are not from the soapbox, but have been thought through as workable and fruitful.
“This is important because as far as Anambra State is concerned, we are yet to see any robust moves connected to health institutions – hospitals, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, researchers etc – to assure that in the event of the virus breaking through the defences of social distancing for any reason, they can be contained.
“We have not seen government liaise with Emzor or other Anambra State linked pharmaceuticals to distribute Vitamin C and other immunity builders for the war of health ahead.
“We challenge Anambra State Government to display the total road map and seek help before the night comes on us, as we are very far from ready, beyond theatrics.”