COVID-19: NLC opposes extension of lockdown

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The Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday kicked against the extension of the ongoing lockdown of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, warning that it would create chaos and social unrest.

In a letter addressed to the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and dated April 14, 2020, which was signed by the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, the union also frowned on the method employed by the FG in the distribution of the palliative measure, calling for the expansion of the initiative to all Nigerians affected by the pandemic.

The union said, “While we understand the public health imperatives for extending the lockdown in some parts of the country, it is also very important to underscore the fact that the states currently under total lockdown are the economic and administrative nerve centres of Nigeria.

“This is very dicey. As much as it is important to keep many Nigerians from dying in the hands of coronavirus, loss of income and the accompanying destitution can also be a pathfinder for numerous other sicknesses and deaths. This is the time to play the balancing game.

“The truth is that our economy might relapse into prolonged coma if the current lockdown in the nation’s nerve centres goes beyond the current extension.

“There were widespread acts of civil disobedience, inducement of law enforcement agents to gain passes and even various forms of violent crimes.

“No one is sure how long this dam would hold. We fear that the situation will get out of hand if the lockdown exceeds one month.

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“While we commend government for being proactive, we opine that the stimulus package would be best served through consultation with social partners.

“Labour and private sector employers have a good understanding of industries where jobs and production are in most danger.”