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Falana-led Covid-19 coalition is clueless about FG response to pandemic – BMO

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The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has accused the Alliance for the Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) of making false claims about Nigeria’s response to the pandemic to justify donor funding.

It said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that the group led by Femi Falana has no capacity to make informed position about a Covid strategy driven by internationally acclaimed epidemiologists.

” We found it amusing that a muck-raking, human right lawyer with absolutely no clue about the novel coronavirus and the new strain is speaking like an authority and making claims that have no basis in logic or fact about the Nigerian authorities’ response to the pandemic.

” How could a group which may have sold itself to donor agencies as an alliance that is ostensibly meant to cooperate with the authorities on stemming the tide of the pandemic not know, for instance, that the country has ramped up its testing capacity nationwide from five public laboratories in February 2020 when it recorded its first case to sixty as at July of same year ?

” But here we have the Falana-led ASCAB making spurious claims about diminishing test kits and a weak campaign strategy when the facts on ground showed that the reverse is the case. It would be interesting to know how this group came to that conclusion.

” Many people may find the group’s argument that government paved way for crowds at National Identity Management Centre (NIMC) offices tenable but we see it as a self-serving point. ” Did government also cause the crowd of fun-seekers the Police rounded up at nite clubs in Lagos, or the mammoth crowd at Elegushi Beach also in Lagos on New Year’s day inspite of all the public awareness campaigns?,” it queried.

BMO also wondered how the group came to the conclusion that the government response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria is elite driven.

The group said: “it is indeed laughable that a so-called alliance against the pandemic in the country does not know that testing and treatment of Covid-19 at public hospitals is absolutely free of charge. It beggars belief that anyone could describe government response as ‘elite driven’ when an average Nigerian does not have to pay to either be tested or be treated in public health facilities.

“If the Falana-led group is indeed on ground,it would have known that private hospitals,like the one the multi-millionaire lawyer usually patronizes, are charging as much as N10m for Covid treatment whereas not one person admitted at any government-owned hospital over the pandemic is required to pay for what virtually all the survivors have described as quality healthcare services.

“As for the group’s claim on the 100.000 doses of vaccines expected in January 2021, we wondered which crystal glass these people looked into to see that the first set of vaccines expected later this month will go to the rich leaving the hoi-polloi including frontline health workers out.

” We know that the coalition led by Falana was supposedly put together to contribute to government and private sector efforts to reduce the impact of the pandemic but it has surprisingly been dabbling into other issues outside of Covid-19 including calling for the removal of service chiefs.

” It would be great to know what a coalition said to have 80 groups with a nebulous name like Alliance for the Survival of Covid-19 and beyond (ASCAB) is really doing to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in local communities?

“But for now, we make bold to say that If the Falanas of this world cannot join government in this cause they should not constitute an hindrance with their jaundiced views and unsubstantiated accusations.”

It also urged Nigerians to continue to believe in the ability of President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the leadership of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to manage the pandemic in the country.

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