COVID-19: Plateau lawmakers demand review of lockdown

The Plateau State House of Assembly on Tuesday called for the review of the total lockdown imposed by the state government to curb the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the state.

The House Majority Leader, Daniel Nanlong, who moved the motion, said there was an urgent need to review the lockdown approach because of the economic realities facing the state.

Mr Nanlong said the impact of the total lockdown, if care was not taken, might be worse than the coronavirus pandemic itself.

The lawmaker said the state boundaries should be properly shut while the residents do their businesses within to survive.

He said the nation and indeed Plateau State’s sources of revenue were dwindling because of the lockdown.

“Mr Speaker, there will soon be serious pressure on the government to meet the demands of not just tackling the pandemic but meeting other needs including payment of salaries.

“It is not sustainable to keep the people hungry at home.

“While I advocate for the opening of the state economy, people must obey the protocols put in place by government to stay safe.

“They must take personal hygiene which include regular washing of hands and the use of hand sanitisers seriously.

“They must wear nose masks and observe social distancing as they go about their businesses within the state,” he said.

The sitting which was presided over by the Speaker, Abok Ayuba, directed the Plateau State COVID-19 Task Force to brief the Assembly on Wednesday with a view to fine-tune the review since it had become necessary.

Mr Ayuba said one of the resolutions was to ensure that more security personnel were drafted to strengthen the border closure.

He said the executive must ensure that the personnel securing the borders were paid allowances to enable them put in their best.

“Their allowances must be paid as and when due and if possible, they should be included on the state government’s payroll.

“Face masks must be enforced and every citizen of Plateau must wear one as protection from the virus,” he said.

The Chairman, House Committee on Health, Daniel Listick, however, said rather than completely open up the state, it should be done in phases.

Mr Listick suggested that the state should be completely locked down at weekends starting from Friday to Sunday.

He said many people gather during those days, as there were 42 markets that operate within those days apart from Churches, Mosques and social gatherings like weddings.

He said doing so would reduce the spread of the COVID-19.