By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah,
Despite the fact that the federal government has opened all sectors of the economy, the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) has insisted that the country has not flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is even as they urged the government to make COVID-19 testing completely free.
In a zoom conference, the capoon Pyrates Confraternity, Abiola Owoaje stated that a majority of Nigerians have a false sense of security that the pandemic is over .
According to him, compared to other countries in the world, the number of sample tests in Nigeria is abysmally low.
For instance, he noted that the Department of Health in South Africa has tested 2,632,106 people as at 21st of July out of a population of 57 million.
He said “Like I had cause to mention in an October 1st video message, our unpreparedness as a country to battle the COVID-19 pandemic mirrors the tragedy that has befallen Nigeria. Not only do we lack the manpower to handle the pandemic, our health facilities are virtually in a complete state of comatose.
“In the quandary that we have found ourselves, our governments have bowed to economic pressure to reopen the economy. We have sunk into false security that Nigeria has flattened the COVID-19 curve, when available facts from under testing to poor health facilities to unreported cases of asymptomatic patients suggests otherwise.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this Press Conference is not to dismiss the efforts put up by the Federal Government, various state governments, the NCDC, private sector and the frontline health workers to combat this pandemic.
“Neither is our COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention Project an attempt to downplay all what has been done to keep this viral infection at bay.
“Rather, as an organisation we are concerned about the unrealistic data being presented by government officials and have decided to keep raising the red flag that Nigeria is not yet out of the danger COVID-19 has foisted on us.
“The objective of this project, which is in three phases with different segments including the Press conference to be addressed shortly by our medical team, is to keep Nigerians at alert on the risk when we lower our guards.
He further explained that “Other segments of the project, some of which are still ongoing, include dissemination of real-life experiences with COVID-19 through our YouTube channel, an online petition (targeting 100,000 – 150,000 signatories) to hold the Nigerian government accountable to the people through a realistic and transparent official COVID-19 protocol.
“An online public poll across social media platforms to distill responses to how the Nigeria government is managing the COVID-19 pandemic, distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Information, Education and Communication(IEC) materials to communities and local health facilities to continue to draw attention to the risk posed by the disease.”
He further explained that NAS, as an organisation, is concerned about the lackadaisical attitude by many Nigerians to the COVID-19 threat.
He said compulsory wearing of face masks in public places is being jettisoned as people are no longer maintaining social distancing and washing of hands has become optional.
Owoaje said the Pyrates Confraternity, have a moral obligation to educate fellow citizens that the virus is still very much around and the need to adhere to the COVID-19 health protocols is a collective responsibility.
He noted that the reports from Europe indicate that France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain are imposing new lockdowns and stringent restrictions guidelines.
“The situation is similar in the United Kingdom and the United States. Nigerians need to take heed in order to avoid a second wave with the onset of the cold season, which could be disastrous.
“We are optimistic that at the end of our campaign, we would be able to engage relevant stakeholders and seek an improvement in our healthcare system. We seek your cooperation as strategic partners towards the realisation of this objective,” he added.