Dr Olisa Agbakoba, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has urged the Federal Government to consider adopting local measures to combat the ravaging Coronavirus disease (COVID-19 ) pandemic.
Agbakoba gave the advice in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos on Monday.
He said such advice became inevitable because the dreaded Coronavirus disease had exposed the fragility of the public health system of many countries including Nigeria.
He said: “The global pandemic has precipitated fundamental disruptions that will change the ways in which many things are done the world forever, and Nigeria is not left out.
“For Nigeria to handle COVID-19 successfully, especially in view of Nigeria`s public health system and paucity of funds, I need to make two overriding points.
“First, the need to depart from international strategy by developing a ‘Nigerian strategy’ in managing COVID-19 and diversification of the economy in view of dwindling oil revenue.
“On the need for a Nigerian strategy on COVID-19, I call on the federal government to interrogate available quinine medications and to engage Nigerian virologists and infectious diseases specialists,’’ he said.
He also called on the Federal Government to engage public health professionals and traditional and herbal medicine Institutions with a view to exploring local Nigerian solutions to COVID-19.
“This approach will also help to enhance the capacity of Nigerian specialists.
“This is in line with the policy of promoting and utilizing local content.
“I also call on the federal government to develop a decentralised strategy for COVID-19 by delegating some responsibility to state governments.
“It is gratifying to note that the federal government has already initiated some measures including a lockdown policy.
“While commending the federal government for the COVID-19 measures taken so far, I am concerned with the sustainability of the lockdown policy in view of lack of social welfare system and scarce financial resources,” he said
Agbakoba similarly urged governments to lift the strict lockdown restrictions and allow some flexibility so as to allow some level of work and economic activities within some parameters.
“I conclude by stating that the time has come for the federal government of Nigeria to adopt the policy of thinking globally and acting locally in solving the COVID-19 problem.
“What we need is home-grown Nigerian solution independent of the efforts being made in developed countries,” he said
He said that while the West had the resources for a total lockdown we must adopt our Nigerian COVID-19 strategy to suit local and Nigerian situation.