Governor of Willie Obiano of Anambra State has said his decision to relax the lockdown in the state was to avoid social unrest.
The governor, had on Sunday, relaxed the lockdown — four weeks after it was declared as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement by C-Don Adinuba, the state commissioner for information and public enlightenment, the governor said the lockdown had taken an “enormous toll” on the people of the state.
He said in as much as his government has the responsibility to protect the people from the disease, he cannot allow them die of starvation through the lockdown.
“Like every other government, the Anambra State administration is bound to protect its people from the ravages of COVID-19 but it cannot afford to do so by unwittingly allowing millions of its people to die of hunger and starvation or by causing their businesses to collapse through an unmitigated lockdown, “he said.
“The 28 days of lockdown, when all markets were shut down, vehicular and human movements restricted, schools closed, traditional religious services suspended, funerals, wedding and title taking ceremonies practically stopped, have already taken an enormous toll on the people’s well being.
“Social unrest must be avoided. If people in developed nations could not accept more than three weeks of lockdown, despite the immense social safety nets for the poor and the huge amounts paid by governments directly to the citizens who lost their jobs in the wake of COVID-19, we can imagine what the most vulnerable in our society and elsewhere in Africa have been going through.”
He added that although the lockdown had been relaxed, appropriate restrictions still remain in the state.
“Schools are not yet open. Most civil servants still work from home. Burials, funerals, title taking and award ceremonies and marriages are still not taking place because they are likely to attract more than 30 persons in each instance,” he said.