Lockdown extension will spell disaster for Nigeria – Cross River governor


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The Governor of Cross River, Ben Ayade, has warned that any attempt to extend the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to unprecedented youth restiveness.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari imposed a tw0-week lockdown on Lagos, Ogun and FCT on March 30 but extended it by a further two weeks. Many state governors followed suit.

However, Ayade on Wednesday warned that any further extension could spell doom for the nation.

The Cross River governor spoke at the Industrial Park in Calabar while defending his administration’s decision to engage 8,000 youths.

He said the decision was necessitated by a desire to reduce social tension as a result of the negative economic realities caused by the COVID-19-induced restrictions on movement.

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Ayade said, “With prices of oil falling, locking out is far better than locking down because another two weeks of lockdown will find this country under siege by young people. There is no way you can hold down these young energies for too long.

“It is demographic, it is statistics. Sixty-five percent of the population is below the age of 35 and the virus itself does not have penetrative force in such demography and that is what we have to recognise as a country.”

The Cross River governor noted that Africa had fared better than the West in terms of COVID-19 infection rate as a result of the difference in climate.

Ayade added, “Our demography is different from the West. Our climatic conditions are different.

“If you take the wind speed, the wind direction, sun intensity, radiation and the factors that govern the movement of a virus, ours is a situation that makes it difficult to spread with the speed it is spreading in the western world.

“So, our response strategy should reflect our environmental sensitivity. Maybe what COVID-19 will eventually do is to sharpen the consciousness of young people to come together.

“That will be very dangerous and so, to nip that in the bud, we have to find jobs for them because sincerely, that is the provision in the constitution. Section 14 subsection 2 says the welfare and security of the people are the primary essences of government.”


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