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COVID-19: Buhari orders lock down in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun for 14 days
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the cessation of all movements in Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ogun State for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, March 30, 2020 as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The president announced this in a nationwide broadcast Sunday evening on the steps his administration has been taken to ensure safety of citizens across the country as the novel virus spreads to more states of the federation.
He explained that the step was based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)
President Buhari said Ogun State was included due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.
” All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period,” he said.
“The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.”
He stated that government agencies would 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 others states.”
He said: ” As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.”
“This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.”
Buhari however, noted that the order did not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.
He added that 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.
While noting that though these establishments are exempted, their access would be restricted and monitored.
The president further stated that 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,” he said.
“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.”
He stressed that movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are suspended while special permits would 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,”the president said.
In order to reduce hardship that the restrictions would bring on the people, president Buhari said government would relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.
“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.”
He disclosed that the government has also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change.
This strategy, the president said, takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.
“Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately. So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of ad-hoc staff to man our call centers and support our tracing and testing efforts,” he said.
Buhari said he has also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all state governments to nominate doctors and urses who will be trained by the NCDC and Lagos State Government on tactical and operational response to the virus in case it spreads to other states.
The training, according to him, would also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.