The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has expressed concern over the ongoing lockdown imposed by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The party called for the review of the lockdown and recommended some strategies to the federal and state governments.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Falalu Bello, OFR and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday evening.
The full statement reads:
“The Peoples Redemption Party [PRP] has received with consternation and utter disappointment, yesterday’s Presidential statement to the Nigerian public by President Muhammadu BuharI [GCFR] confirming the indefinite continuation of lockdowns that governments [both Federal and States] have imposed on most Nigerian cities and States purportedly as a reaction to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
The presidential statement, which was released to the public by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated amongst other things that:
(i) Nigerians must continue to observe restrictions on movement where they are in place for as long as “our scientific advisers declare they are necessary”,
(ii) Government has made “multiple” arrangements to assist the most vulnerable amongst the citizenry with, for instance, the distribution of 70, 000 tonnes of grain which is to be released “from the National Strategic Grain Reserve” and the distribution of small cash payments, and
(iii) that since there is no known cure yet for the disease, Nigeria shall not wait for help from elsewhere but end this “outbreak ourselves as Nigerians together”.
The consternation and disappointment of the PRP with President Buhari’s statement arises basically from three critical considerations.
Firstly, from his statement, the President appears not to understand and appreciate the futility and ineffectiveness of lockdowns as a panacea for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in an economic and social environment such as ours.
Nigeria Covid -19 response strategy with terms such as aggressive enforcement of total lockdown, flattening of the curve, contact tracing, self-isolation, etc, is a very good strategy on paper but has been drawn in total disregard to our environment and circumstances.
Complete lockdown for example may be useful and effective in developed economies and societies as exist in Europe and North America. But in our own environment where infrastructure such as housing, public transportation, sanitation and water supply are at best rudimentary, a wholesale copy of the lockdown template as a strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic is as good as playing the ostrich.
Self-Isolation as another example in most of our houses in our towns and cities where tens of families stay in a house with only a toilet and tap is neither possible nor practicable. The Covid-19 Strategy sold to our President and his Governors is alien to our circumstances, not practicable nor sustainable and should be urgently jettisoned.
Secondly, the President’s statement betrays a complete failure to understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health emergency but more appropriately a multi-sectoral challenge, with grave implications and threats to not just the public health but the livelihoods of citizens.
So, to depend, as the President says he is going to do, only on the advices of the “scientific advisers” for the determination of whether and when to lift the restrictions on movements, is to say the least, most ill-advised. As experts in similar climes as ours have argued, complete lockdowns in and by themselves cannot and will not solve the challenges that COVID-19 has unleashed.
Indeed, the lockdown themselves may even compound and worsen the incidence of both contagion and spread by, for instance, weakening the immune system through worsening malnutrition, the herding together of masses of people in congested residential spaces which is what you find in most of our cities and towns, and the overstretching of rudimentary health-care facilities and infrastructures.
Thirdly, President Buhari’s Statement convinces us of the Government’s utter disregard and lack of appreciation of its own low executive capacity. For the President to talk and promise that the Administration is going to distribute lockdown palliatives to the most vulnerable, who largely live from day to day in the interstices of the informal sector of the economy, in the face of gross bungling of the government’s initial efforts in this direction, only goes to betray this disregard of existential realities.
The Nigerian government [both Federal and States] lack the executive capacity to do these in a transparent and effective manner. To begin with, the database that will be used to determine who qualifies for such an intervention and support is just simply not there.
Furthermore, the executive capacity to execute the distribution in an equitable, fair and even- handed manner has simply been shown not to exist. These have been seen in almost all the States that gave out palliatives to their citizens as well as the fairly tale distribution of N20,000.00 each to 2.6million Nigerians in 4 days by the Federal Government which most people don’t believe.
In these circumstances, the Peoples Redemption Party [PRP] calls on the Federal and State governments to urgently review the strategies they have so far adopted to confront the COVID-19 pandemic with a view to fashioning out more effective, appropriate and sustainable approaches to managing the Coronavirus challenge.
In more specific terms, the PRP calls on those public institutions to consider adopting the following responses amongst others;
(i) review the lockdown orders restricting movements with a view to relaxing them to allow citizens to go about earning their livelihoods in an orderly and supervised manner,
(ii) procure, subsidize and massively distribute face masks to the public and make the wearing of these compulsory in public spaces until the pandemic is over,
(iii) urgently procure testing kits and make them widely available so that members of the community with individuals suspected of showing symptoms of the disease can have easy access for testing,
(iv) invest massively in the medical infrastructure and training for contact tracing of confirmed cases, their isolation and treatment, as well as the provision of protective gear for health workers,
(v) immediately prepare stimulus packages for sectors of the national economy which are going to be worst affected by the pandemic in the coming months, such as small-holder agriculture, small and medium enterprises, operators in the informal sectors of the economy and selected strategic industries,
(vi) reopening of the public services while maintaining social-distancing in the work-place and commercial operations,
(vii) immediately probe the fairy tale distribution of N20,000.00 each to 2.6 million Nigeriand in 4 days as a means of confirming what happened and as important strengthening the distribution capacity of the Ministry of Humanitarian Services and Disaster Management before engaging them to handle further distribution of palliatives to the needy Nigerian population;
(viii) eliminate police and military brutality coming from the enforcement of the lockdowns reported to have cost across the nation more harm than COVID-19 and resort to counselling and even fine as seen in the jurisdictions we have borrowed our Covid-19 strategy.
We would want to remind Mr President as a General who has read World War 2 which cost humanity over 80 million lives that, it started in Germany with Germans eating from the dust bins and crash of the German economy in 1930. A broken economy which may follow naked lockdowns as we are witnessing without adopting appropriate measures in the midst of small arms that are in the hands of lawless citizens, may result in another Germany in Nigeria because of our huge population. Mr President please save our people eating from the dust bins.
Finally, it is our belief in the PRP that for President Buhari to continue with the present fixture of lockdown and restriction of movements in the face of the overwhelming evidence that point to the inappropriateness in our specific circumstances and social realities, would be tantamount to playing fiddle while Rome burns!”
PRP lambasts Buhari-led gov’t for incessant borrowing
The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) on Saturday in Abuja has lambasted the Buhari-led administration for incessant borrowing.
National Chairman of the party, Mallam Falalu Bello, told newsmen that it is wrong for any nation which spends a larger percentage of its revenue on debt servicing to borrow further.
“Any individual who does that will be said to be heading for bankruptcy. This means a country will have no means of financing growth and development of the economy with almost certainty of social malaise.
“Continuous borrowing in the face of a reduction in revenue is wrong and akin to mortgaging the Nigerian future and taking the nation into servitude.
“The Nigerian government is currently faced with a lot of problems from both the economic and social perspectives.
“A persistent double-digit inflation rate which continuously lowers the purchasing power of the population and a 45 percent youth unemployment rate are ominous signs,’’ he said.
To tackle the problems, the PRP suggested, “reduction in the costs of the Legislature to the National economy achievable by making the Legislature Unicameral as opposed to existing Bicameral arrangement by doing away with the Senate and making the Assembly part time as opposed to current full time arrangement;
“Reducing the expenditures of the Executive arm of Government at all levels inclusive of the Presidency (by at least calling on the President to honour his Campaign promises of reducing Presidential Fleet, Presidential Vehicles, Foreign Medical trips);
“Merging some of the Ministries and Departments with duplicative functions such as EFCC and ICPC for which there are indeed several Reports of Committees set up by previous Governments ; and,
“Reducing the unacceptable debt profiles of the Federal and some State Governments putting pressure on revenues and debt servicing.”
PRP is alternative to APC, PDP – National Chairman
The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has been declared as an alternative to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This was disclosed by the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Falalu Bello, OFR in a media chat with newsmen Wednesday in his office at the party’s National Secretariat, Abuja.
According to the party’s National Chairman, the Nigerian masses from all regions and tribes were pauperized by the crop of bad leaders that had for long been ruling the country.
He further stated that the PRP, when comes to power, will fully implement the principle of genuine federalism as it is among the party’s manifestos.
“We believe in the forging of Nigerian national unity on the basis of justice and equitable political, social and economic opportunities for all citizens, within a genuinely federal system of government in which our diversity is recognized and cherished and which promotes a national sense of belonging and of a common destiny, through the elimination of all unequal and unjust relations of hegemony and monopoly of office and assets between and within ethnic groups, whenever they exist.
“We are equally committed to the prevention of religious and ethnic strife, through sustained democratic community action and a strong purposeful defense of the fundamental human rights of all citizens, wherever they are,” the national chairman stated.
He also described the ongoing agitations in some parts of the country as elite conversation meant to confuse the masses and maneuver their ways to get power.
The national chairman also expressed sadness over the killings and bloodshed that were happening in various parts of the country.
“These are criminal activities, done by criminals who should be punished for their criminalities. Whether they come from the North, or it is Boko Haram from Borno, or banditry in Zamfara, or secessionists in Southeast or Southwest. These are criminals and should be treated as such by the state (government). It is the failure of leadership that cause all these things in this country,” he said.
PRP belongs to the downtrodden – Falalu Bello
The National Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has disclosed that the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) was the party of the downtrodden.
The National Chairman made this known at the party national secretariat in Abuja today while receiving the party leaders and stakeholders from Kogi State.
The delegation led by the State Chairman of the party, Mr. Sunday Davis Ozomata had briefed the National Chairman about the progress and developments achieved, strategies and plans by the Kogi State Chapter of the party. They also appreciated the quality leadership and immense contributions being given by the National Chairman towards the development of the party in Kogi State.
On his part, the National Chairman has applauded the Kogi State Chapter of the PRP for the progress made and appreciated their level of coordination, unity and determination towards resuscitating the party in the state. He also urged them to put more efforts particularly on the areas of growing and strengthening the membership base of the party in the state as doing that will enable the party gain more grounds and win elections.
Recall that PRP makes a remarkable comeback to the Nigerian political arena with prominent Nigerians such as Prof. Attahiru Jega, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, among others already joined the party.