Former Nigeria vice president Atiku Abubakar has urged the Nigerian government to close borders and stop international flights to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
“The reason Nigeria took a harder than necessary hit during the first wave of the #COVID19 virus is that the Federal Government failed to heed the warnings of well-meaning Nigerians, like myself and others, to shut down our borders once the virus became a pandemic,” Atiku tweeted.
“Hindsight is 20/20. Nevertheless, we must learn from history, or we stand the risk of repeating it.”
Atiku, Nigeria’s vice president from 1999 till 2007, stated that the second wave of COVID-19 being experienced in the United Kingdom means that Nigeria’s ill-equipped health sector stands at risk of being overwhelmed to contain the pandemic.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 is currently 78,434 with 68,303 patients treated and discharged. The country has recorded 1,221 COVID-19 deaths according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Nigeria’s government last week confirmed that the country has entered into the second wave of the virus after recording over 5,000 cases in the first two weeks of December.
Consequently, different state governments have imposed new guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Secretary to the government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha lamented that the country risk not just losing the gains from the fight against the virus, but also loose lives of citizens.
Atiku, however, noted that the government must take precautionary actions before it’s too late.
“The new strain of COVID19 that has erupted in the United Kingdom, and specifically, London, can add to Nigeria’s health emergency if we do not act with an abundance of caution and temporarily halt all flights to and from the UK until this new strain is brought under control,” Atiku said.
“Nigeria must take necessary precautions due to the volume of air traffic between Nigerian airports and London, where this new strain has erupted.
“We must face the reality that our health sector is not sufficiently prepared to handle a sudden and unpredictable surge of this pandemic. We have already lost lives needlessly. We need not lose more.”