Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) on Sunday advised Nigerians against risky behaviours in the ease of lockdown.
Sen. Eze Ajoku, the President of the coalition, gave the caution in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
Ajoku said this had become imperative because such behaviours were capable of exposing the public to COVID-19 infection.
President Muhammadu Buhari in a nationwide broadcast announced a gradual easing of the COVID-19 lockdown at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and two states of Lagos and Ogun from May 4.
The unveiled new measures included a nationwide night-time curfew, mandatory wearing of face masks and a ban on “non-essential” travel between different regions.
However, the COSROPIN president who expressed concern over a possible increase in the number of Nigeria’s cases, said the easing might be premature.
He warned against replicating the Ghanaian experience in Nigeria, saying that easing of lockdown in Ghana was said to have resulted to over 50 per cent increase in their cases.
“While we cannot ask government to change its decision, we appeal to them to not hesitate to reconsider their decision should the public response after lifting lockdown not match their expectation, especially if testing shows unacceptable higher numbers.
“We are concerned about our older persons at home who have weak immunity hence the possibility of their being easily infected by mobile younger people if care is not taken with the ease of the lockdown,” he said.
He urged government at all levels to ensure equitable and judicious distribution of palliatives so that people were not forced to the street out of hunger.
Ajoku urged people especially in FCT, Lagos and Ogun to be at alert as they took advantage of the lockdown ease and not throw caution to the wind.
“Many people are looking forward to Monday when lockdown will be lifted in Lagos ,Ogun and FCT. Some people may be planning how to jump out in congested taxis, kekes (tricycles) and Molue (buses), to visit friends and acquaintances.
“Stay away from the visits for now. At the COSROPIN/NOA launch of wearing of face mask, we reminded the participants about the daily increasing numbers of infected persons.
“Please do not go out for the fun of it and through your life style, pick up the virus and then subsequently infect your family, colleagues at work and loved ones.” he advised.
The coalition boss who reiterated call for caution, said the virus “red light is up, don’t beat the traffic,” warning against community transmission to prevent community deaths.
According to him, if you get infected and probably get well later, some of your loved ones, older persons or colleagues that you may have infected may not be so lucky.
Ajoku appealed to Nigerians to stay at home as much as possible for safety reasons.
“The person you are hanging out with today may have been out yesterday with someone else and gotten infected.
“E no de show for face oh (It doesn’t show on the face). It is an air borne virus unlike HIV,” he said.
He however emphasised that “if you must go out, wear your mask for adequate protection for benefit of all”.
Ajoku also reminded Nigerians to always observe physical distancing, regular hand washing with soap and use of sanitiser as the only prevention and known ways of staying safe.