Charles Soludo, Former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has made a robust economic case for African countries to lift the lock-down, in an article that have been widely circulated. His argument basically emphasizes on the fact that the continent cannot afford to copy advanced countries with regards to decisions on the deadly pandemic.
While explaining the devastating effect of the lock-down in Africa, Soludo raised a strong concern about the nature of the African economy.
“Africa’s economy is fundamentally informal and the governments do not have the resources to pay their citizens to stay at home as the US and EU countries are currently doing. There could be a socio-economic disorder in Africa if these lock-downs continue”.
According to Simon Kolawole, a journalist with The Cable, he explained that there are arguments that favour the lockdown measure as it was evident in Wuhan, China; “On the basis of evidence, a strong argument can be made in favour of lock-downs. Wuhan, the Chinese city that afflicted the world with the novel coronavirus, was under lock and key for 76 days and is now virtually free of the disease.
“In fact, China itself has not reported a single death in the last eight days and new infections are now in single or double digits for most days. Italy and Spain were badly hit but are finally flattening the curve after lock-downs.
“Nigerians are getting restless over the lock-down. As things stand, only the well-to-do can cope. They are well-resourced to stay at home. They live in spacious houses, meaning they can really do physical distancing even at home.
“Their food stores are well loaded and can keep getting replenished for weeks and months. They have the savings to keep running their lives at least for the foreseeable future.
”For the poor, who are in the vast majority, everyday they stay at home makes them sink deeper into poverty. The self-employed traders, bus drivers, mechanics, barbers, tailors, hair dressers and bricklayers cannot afford to be home endlessly. They are crying”.
What then? Should the lock-down be lifted for Nigerians to revive their economic lives so that we can avoid a certain social disorder ahead of us?