Some economic experts have advised the Federal Government to work against another lockdown.
They warned the Government that the new Omicron COVID-19 variant might take the country to another economic lockdown.
Speaking with NAN, they emphasized the importance of protecting lives as well as livelihood. The experts urged the government to factor livelihood into the Omicron variant.
Three more cases of COVID-19 pandemic that includes the Omicron variants have been confirmed. NAN said this data was reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Presently, the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron Variant in Nigeria is six.
Recall that Nigeria experienced an economic lockdown in 2020 after the outbreak of the pandemic. This hampered gravely the economic crisis in Nigeria.
Against this backdrop, Professor Akpan Ekpo warned the government against an economic lockdown.
Ekpo, a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, advised the government to fund scientists to help develop vaccines.
“Government must avoid a lockdown of the economy now so as not to constrain economic activities.
“It will be important to closely monitor our borders, roads and air.
“It seems the virus has come to stay, hence, our scientists should be funded to develop vaccines; reliance on developed countries is not sustainable.”
Ekpo urged the government to make vaccination mandatory and available for all.
Another Professor, Uche Uwaleke also warned against the lockdown strategy.
Uwaleke, a Professor of Finance and Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, said a new strategy favourable to the economy should be deployed.
His words: “In order to minimise the negative impact of Omicron COVID-19 variant on economic growth, the lockdown strategy, movement restrictions and school closures should no longer be used.
“This time around, I think the country is better prepared to handle the omicron challenge. The government should enforce more strictly the COVID-19 protocols especially the wearing of face masks by the public.
“Vaccination, especially in densely populated areas of the country, should also be scaled up.”
The Director, Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research (CEPAR), Prof Ndubuisi Nwokoma also rejected the lockdown strategy.
“Lockdown, as it happened during the first wave of COVID-19, may not be the way to go now.
“It had a lot of devastating effects on people’s livelihood particularly for the poor and vulnerable as well as the operators in the informal sector and in the SMEs.
“Focus must be on the strict enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols and the restriction of unnecessary travels. With this, locking down the economy may not be necessary.
“By these, life and livelihood can both be preserved,”