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Covid-19: Buhari Lockdown Lagos, Abuja, Ogun

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja 

President Muhammadu Buhari, Sunday, ordered cessation of all movement in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11 O’clock – midnight Monday March 30, 2020, to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

As at Sunday, the number of infected persons with the novel Coronavirus in Nigeria was 97  with Lagos, Abuja and Ogun leading the chart, compelling President Buhari to order a lockdown in the two affected States and the FCT.

The President gave the restriction order during his State of the Nation Address on Covid-19, saying that the restriction order was based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Cebtre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Buhari said all citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes.

 

According to him, travel to or from other states should be postponed. 

The President also ordered that all businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.

He said that governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified, adding that heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.

”Majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. All the confirmed cases are getting the necessary medical care, ” he said.

President Buhari said: ”Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people these patients have been in contact with. The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have travelled from these centres.

”We are therefore working to ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread.

”We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.

”This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.  Furthermore, commercial establishments  such as; food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities, power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies are also exempted. Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

 ”All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.

 ”Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.

”Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.

 ”Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

”We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France and Spain.  

”However, we must all see this as our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus. I will therefore ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.

 ”As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results.

 For residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks. 

”Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with State Governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during this period without compromising our social distancing policies. The Minister will be contacting the affected States and agree on detailed next steps.”

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