Barely two days to the start of the relaxation of lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has rejected the decision of the Federal Government.
President Muhammadu Buhari had announced the gradual relaxation of the lockdown earlier imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus in the affected states starting from May 4.
Moreover, businesses and civil servants have been instructed to resume nationwide, Allnews reports.
Meanwhile, the opposition party said it received credible health intelligence and had researched into the reported planned lifting of the lockdown in the states, thus kicking against the decision of the Federal Government.
This was contained in a press release issued by its spokesperson, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere.
The party said it conducted a detailed survey, analyzed the pattern of spread since the imposition of the initial lockdown and reviewed the guidelines for the lifting released by the Presidential Taskforce.
"Based on the outcome of the efforts, we have come to this unimpeachable conclusion that what Nigeria rather needs now is a national lockdown and not lifting of the partial lockdown. This is fundamentally because like we had highlighted in previous statements, a lockdown on its own without complementary action was not going to achieve much."
The CUPP emphasised that the statistics of the pandemic in Nigeria also informed its position.
According to Mr Ugochinyere, Nigeria is one of the countries with least testing capabilities when compared to Ghana, South Africa and other neighbouring African countries.
"Fellow countrymen can you imagine that with all the media noise and volume of money spent including loans and donations been taken and received left and right by President Buhari government and our dear country Nigeria with a population of over 200m has tested only 12,800 and i repeat 12 ,800 citizens from 27th February, 2020 the day the index coronavirus testing was positive till date with an approximate of two thousand infections while our neighbour Ghana with less population has tested 120,000 people with around same 2000 infections, South Africa tested 210,000 people, Egypt 100,000, morocco 40,000 etc and with this weak performance, how can Nigeria test people when lockdown is lifted with probability of more infection?"
He, however, said that the true test of leadership is here as there is no money, no economy, no attempt to assemble our doctors and local herbal experts to try something.
"The president prefers us to wait till our former slave masters develop something as usual. Nigerians be careful as you come out, because the worst can happen now as the health institutions and strategies Buhari put out are weak. That is why we are not comfortable with the plan to officially open the lockdown and allow people move in crowds with no capacity to handle the possible fall-out, " He continued.
" We hereby declare that President Buhari's lifting of the lockdown without complementary action cannot achieve the targeted aim of revamping the economy as the virus will painfully and unfortunately spread again and thereby force the government to shut down again and this time under dire circumstances."
More so, the group questioned the modus operandi of the enforcement of preventive measures and the insufficiency of the tests being carried out by the NCDC.
"The questions are legion. Hence we reject the planned move to allow people to return to the streets when the level of indiscipline, corruption and desperation to make money is high while capacity for crowd control and relevant institutions are also weak."
Acknowledging the economic realities, he said that the pressure to lift the lockdown was caused by the suffering of the people and level of poverty caused by the Buhari-led administration.
It also accused the government of turning the COVID-19 response into another "looting jamboree with several billions of dollars spent and nothing tangible reaching the people".
"After extensive investigation and review of information at our disposal, facts show that government has not put in place any sustainable sensitization or proper machinery in motion to curtail the spread of the virus after the lockdown lifting."
"The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control testing ability has not been properly strengthened to handle mass infections that will come out from spread if lockdown is lifted."
The opposition party concluded that the enforcement of the WHO guidelines has not improved as men of the police are still collecting bribe to allow defaulters to move on across states or extorting them.
" ... the use of masks have not been made legally compulsory to allow for prosecution or punitive action against defaulters, the access to masks by poor people or less privileged who will be thronging public places, buses and markets have not been put in place, and in view of that we the opposition wish to warn that we do we not subscribe to nationwide lifting of the lockdown with weak health measures which cannot handle a viral spread," the statement read.