PR Case in the 30 Days Kaduna Quarantine Extension
By Ahmed Said
The latest release by the state government, reviewing the earlier invoked Quarantine Act exposes a wide gap in strategic crisis communication.
The major thrust of the release and the justification advanced impliedly is, the strengthening of the provisions against unauthorised movement. There is less to suggest anything more, functionally.
The release offers far less assurance in terms of building public condidence in what is being done or measures being put in place to institute social safety nets and allay despair.
The tone, in the overall had too little to show empathy and reverse despondency.
Here is a summary of my observations:
1. There is no scientific basis to cut down on the windows from lockdown to one day from the initial two days.
What is the threat analysis that warranted this review?
Lagos state has a higher incidence rate with exponential rise occasioned by enhanced penetration in community testing. Are we locking down to initiate community door to door testing?
2. What has the state government done so far in improving response capacity to the propensity of increase. There should be assuring disclosures on containment strategies beyond lockdown, e.g procurement of ventilators, testing devices and other apparatuses that complement tracking, handling, isolation and treatment of infected persons.
3. The claim of palliatives to 59 community clusters in 9 LGs is a fraud. Evaluation in this regard has been dismally poor and the desired outcome was not met, as there were reports of diversion of the food items in most cases. Where people benefitted, it was miserably insignificant. What assurances do we have that, scaling it up on state wide capacity as being assured will remedy this lapses. The release has no word regarding acknowledging that, and offering assurance for the second phase.
4. Why should government force its employees to donate to a purse which aftermath may not be transparent and against their consent? Which law in the federation supports such action?
Besides, why expose high ranking public officers in the revelation that, they can afford to give up N500,000 from their earnings. Well, we never knew they earned that much enough to afford such a huge cut back, but it covertly suggests a subtle blackmail on these persons, some of who may already be doing the much they can within their communities to allay the sufferings of their people and will severely suffer this exposure as they maay now be profiled differently by the public. Forcing them to a cut does not reduce their responsibilities to their people. It is not obviated by government.
5. Finally, the pronouncement of “30 days” with such a sense of fiat creates apprehension and despair, and may threaten previous attempts to build resilience among citizens of the state.Do we really need the pronouncement now?
Can’t government better manage the perception of a gradual winding down of despair rather than a narrowing of confidence in the apparent escalation of hopelessness among citizens as this review may suggest?