COVID-19: Soyinka Lacks Medical Expertise To Determine Relevance Of Lockdown – Presidency

The Presidency has rebuffed the argument of the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, over the legality and essence of the lockdown imposed on Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, the Presidency said Soyinka as a playwright lacks the needed medical and scientific expertise to determine the importance of a lockdown in the affected areas.
It stated that Soyinka’s arguments were merely semantics which cannot be trusted over the professional advice of the government’s medical specialists, who are devising means to curb the spread of the epidemic in the country.4
The statement read: “Professor Soyinka is not a medical professor. His qualifications are in English literature, and his prizes are for writing books and plays for theatres.
“Across the world…mandated lockdowns are in place to slow and defeat the spread of coronavirus. All have been declared, and all have been made necessary, based on medical and scientific evidence.
“He is of course entitled to his opinions – but that is exactly all they are: semantics, not science. They cannot – and should not – therefore be judged as professional expertise in this matter in any shape or form.”
Making references to the thoughts of international health experts, the Presidency also quelled Soyinka’s argument that the country is not in a “war emergency”.
The statement also defended the legality of the decision taken by President Buhari, emphasising that the Federal Government had to act drastically in its defence of Nigerians against the pandemic.
Noting the lockdown measure is being adopted across the world, the Presidency urged the playwright to wait till the pandemic is over before writing a play on it.
“The Government’s primary duty in law and action is the defence of the people of Nigeria. We face a global pandemic. Nigeria is now affected. The scientific and medical guidance the world over is clear: the way to defeat the virus is to halt its spread through limitation of movement of people.
“Perhaps, Wole Soyinka may write a play on the coronavirus pandemic, after this emergency is over.
“In the meantime, we ask the people of Nigeria to trust the words of our doctors and scientists – and not fiction writers – at this time of national crisis,” the statement read.
Nigeria has recorded a total of 174 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus as at Thursday morning.
Two fatalities have been reported while nine persons have recovered.

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