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SMBLF berates FG over lockdown, cautions against military intimidation

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The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) yesterday berated the Federal Government over its directive to lockdown the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states, saying the order flouted due process.

The group noted that it was a violation of federal spirit to shut down states without consulting governors under no known law than the 1926 Colonial Quarantine Act the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami “ignorantly flaunts” about.

In a statement issued by Yinka Odumakin (South West), Gen. C.R.U. Iherike (South East), Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt) the group commended Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, for postponing the lockdown in his state.

The group also cautioned the military against intimidating and harassing Nigerians, while urging them to direct their energies to fight Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, stressing that quarantine was the business of the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

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“SMBLF is constrained to make its position known on the blunders that have characterised the presidential regulations on COVID-19, as contained in President Buhari’s belated broadcast on Sunday.

“It is regrettable that after a long silence on the pandemic, the President still could not get it right due largely to his government’s disregard for rules and its operation of a disorganised system and central planning.”

“It is inexplicable that anyone who understands how society functions would shut down a city like Lagos under 24 hours without considering the impact on the citizens when there is a no serious programme of dealing with the health crisis on ground. The lockdown of Lagos, FCT and Ogun in such manner is therefore whimsical and too blatant.

“It is good Ogun State Governor has modified the President’s military fiat in a manner the Governor of New York City made it clear to President Donald Trump that he had no power to shut down his city,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile, following donations and interventions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic threatening the Nigerian healthcare system and other aspects of the nation’s wellbeing, Connected Development (CODE) has launched a nationwide online campaign to monitor the donations from good-spirited Nigerians and organisations.

In a statement issued in Abuja by its Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, the group urged Nigerians to use the opportunity to hold the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) accountable.

“Citizens will be provided online tools to monitor, drive conversation to engender actions and advocate a transparent and inclusive approach, urging government stakeholders to make public all funds released for the fight against COVID-19 and its implementation plans.

“CODE will use its social accountability platform and its community mobilisation strategy to advocate improved health-care facilities for all, as the nation continues to combat COVID-19,” Lawal said.

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Abubakar MalamiNSCDCSMBLF
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