Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy senate president, says some people are mounting pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to reopen the economy without considering the implications.
Omo-Agege, while contributing to a debate on a motion on the floor of the senate on Tuesday, said he is worried over the “raging agitation” for Buhari to reopen the economy in the face of COVID-19.
The motion entitled “COVID-19 Pandemic: Reviewing the national response to the challenges and the way forward” was sponsored by Abdullahi Yahaya, the majority leader.
The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the country’s economy and affected global trade.
The president said the restrictions on movement would be eased from Monday next week but the deputy senate president said those who are agitating for the reopening of the economy are not mindful of the fact that only those who are living could benefit from an economy.
“What concerns me most is the raging agitation to rush Mr President to reopen the country. Mr President I’m worried and very concerned,” he said.
“I am still bewildered why the decision of lockdown was still limited to these three states. What concerns me the most is the urging agitation to reopen the economy. I am worried and concerned. The argument is being made that the cure should not be worse than the problem. People are worried about the effect of the pandemic.
“It is my belief that you have to be alive first before you can seek the benefit of an economy. It does not appear that those who are clamouring for the reopening of this economy are mindful of that. For a historian, we know what occurred in 1918, following the Spanish flu, we remember how people were agitating and as soon as that was done, there was a spike off the spread of the disease. That was in 1918 and 1919. I am worried that the president is now being pressured. In the first 14 days of the lockdown, we didn’t prepare enough by way of palliatives. There is this misconception that the federal government has the responsibility to provide the palliatives. That should not be the situation.”
Nigeria has so far recorded 1,337 cases of the dreaded disease.
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