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Buhari’s handlers are his major problem, says Mohammed

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A Second Republic lawmaker and elder statesman, Dr Junaid Mohammed, has said that the perceived false steps taken by President Muhammadu Buhari in his initial handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the country were caused by his handlers.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday in a telephone interview, he said he would not say that the federal and state governments have done well in containing the spread of the pandemic, but noted that two ministers and the governors of the some affected states like Lagos, Ogun, Delta and Rivers have shown that they learnt from the terrible experience of Ebola virus.

“The governors in the areas concerned, particularly Lagos, have shown that they are learning from experience and that a pandemic of this nature is not likely to suddenly overwhelm the country as a whole. So I think that is fairly okay.

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“The problem I have, however, has to do with the current economic reality in the country. Making a lot of noise on how much has been done about COVIC-19 is grossly inadequate in view of the mass poverty in the land. 

“Asking people to stay away from their daily means of livelihood can only be okay if you provide them with substitute means of living. I have no evidence that the government is doing that with possible exception of the governor of Lagos. I have not seen evidence that they are really serious about addressing this tragedy because a man may not die of coronavirus but he may die of hunger.” 

Mohammed stressed that, “it is important for the government to set aside its corrupt bureaucracy especially at the federal and state levels and find a way of getting across to people who have no other means of livelihood apart from their daily struggle so that they can have something to eat and feed the family.”

He added: “I have no problem with closing down schools because schools can only survive if the children are given some food to eat and if there is enough security on the way to and from school and if the teachers are in good health conditions.

“I don’t want to be critical but at the same time it is recklessness to imagine that somehow by stopping people from earning their living, they can continue to live because they are afraid of coronavirus.”

On the President’s broadcast on COVID-19, Mohammed said: “I have never been impressed by them. I have always believed they are corrupt. They believe they can buy the President cheap popularity by writing some suspicious things for him since they are removed from reality. So whatever he says will appear to be far removed from reality.”

He said the President’s handlers should have done their homework more but regretted that “they have never been known to be good at doing their home work.”

“ So I am not surprised the entire thing fell apart and some sections of Nigerians are not impressed,” he noted.

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