Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has called for greater caution in the wake of the resurgence of COVID-19 in some states, saying the current economic recession has justified his decision not to lock down the state when almost the entire country was on lockdown.
Bello spoke at the Government House in Lokoja where he was conferred with an award of excellence.
According to him, the lockdown imposed on the country led to the loss of lives and livelihoods, saying he resisted the urge to shut down his state, as the pandemic had been politicised.
On the second wave of the pandemic, the Governor urged stakeholders not to create panic among Nigerians, calling on the media to probe into the political economy of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“When we were told that there was COVID-19, I warned against spreading of fear and panic. See what has happened. If they had listened to my advice, this economic recession would have been avoided. But we were playing politics with the whole thing.
“People lost their sources of livelihood. If we cannot provide for the people, we should not take away what they have already. But that was what happened. People lost their jobs. Even the media industry was affected.
“I am calling on those managing this pandemic to have the fear of God. President Buhari is a good man and he means well. He works with the system. This is why I am calling on those who advise the President to do that with the fear of God. We cannot have another lockdown.
“In Kogi, we did not give in to fear and we were able to successfully manage the pandemic because COVID-19 does not pose any threat to life as being rumoured. It is like malaria and we have to see it that way.”
Earlier, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalist NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, lauded Governor Bello for initiating projects and programmes which focused on the wellbeing of the people of the State.
He said rather than imposing lockdowns, there should be novel ideas as to how best to halt the pandemic without shutting down livelihoods.
In his welcome address, the Chairman planning committee of the event, Mr. Jeremiah Ocheme, said the cover or was honoured for being consistent in his belief that lockdown was not the way out of the pandemic and also for granting 35 percent affirmative action to Kogi women in politics.
On his part, ace broadcaster, Gbenga Aruleba described the governor as a man of courage, saying he has continually shunned the temptation to see leadership as a popularity contest.
Vanguard News Nigeria