Press Release

COVID-19: Time to Change Strategy towards intelligient Lockdowns & Voluntary Compliance

23 April 2020

Press Release 05

Lagos, Nigeria.


On 22 April, 2020, the Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank* held a Board Meeting to review nationwide Situation Reports with regard to the ongoing Lockdowns and Social Distancing initiatives being implemented all over the country. The members resolved to call on the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and other stakeholders to also evaluate the effectiveness of Compulsory Lockdowns (in our bid to manage the pandemic) as well as the unintended consequences which they continue to generate.

Since the commencement of the Compulsory Lockdowns in Lagos & Ogun States plus Abuja/FCT more than 3 weeks ago and now extended to all the States of the Federation, the number of people being infected has climbed steadily (as expected) and the spread to various parts of the country has continued apace. To date, 28 persons are confirmed as having died on account of COVID-19. Meanwhile 25 Nigerians appear to have been killed by the security agencies in their bid to enforce various compulsory lockdown measures. A situation where Nigerians are being killed daily by law enforcement agencies at almost the same pace as the Coronavirus kills them is totally unacceptable.

It is time to review the strategy, as it is clear that Compulsory Lockdowns (as implemented by our own security agencies) are not working. Food has become a lot more expensive in various urban centres, as transportation costs have soared due to rising security obstacles, arbitrary closure of inter-state borders and other supply chain disruptions. Restricted market days and curfews often result in needless overcrowding thereby negating adherence to Social Distancing. There has also been a rise in protests and mob action. The longer the Compulsory Lockdowns continue, the higher the risk of a breakdown in law and order, despite the best efforts of Government and other well-meaning Nigerians in distributing food and money to those in need.

We believe there is a need to change direction from a Compulsory Lockdown to an Intelligent Lockdown (as practiced by a few countries) which largely thrives on voluntary actions by an informed populace. The original expected benefit of the Compulsory Lockdowns was to buy some time so that public enlightenment and awareness campaigns could educate the populace whilst also helping to popularize self-quarantine. These awareness campaigns and self-quarantine measures have helped and they should continue.

To implement an Intelligent Lockdown, the Anap COVID-19 Think Tank envisages that most economic activities should be allowed to resume cautiously. In addition, we make the following specific recommendations:

1. End Compulsory Lockdowns and intensify public enlightenment and awareness of the importance of behavioural changes i.e. Social Distancing in public and in public transportation (with rules that prevent overcrowding), wearing masks, improve sanitation and provision of water in public places to facilitate washing of hands. We urge the 3-tiers of Government, NGOs and the Private Sector to distribute to all citizens reusable/washable masks and ensure that security and healthcare professionals have the right Personal Protective Equipment for their roles.

2. The suspension of large public,social and religious gatherings should continue until further notice and schools should remain closed. Those who can, should work from home.

3. The Federal Government should make arrangements for Nigerians trapped abroad to return home.

What Nigeria needs now is movement towards an Intelligent and Sustainable Lockdown which is based largely around voluntary compliance. The more Nigerians understand, the more they can self-regulate.


Abubakar Siddique Mohammed




Atedo N. A. Peterside CON     



*The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank was established on 22 March, 2020, to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic and has 18 members drawn from across the six geopolitical zones and the diaspora (Germany & USA). 

For more information on the Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank, please visit

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