Presidency carpets Nigerians for asking Buhari to address nation over COVID-19


By Uthman Samad

PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Thursday carpeted Nigerians who have called out President Muhammadu Buhari for not addressing the nation on the government’s preparedness to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.

As the novel virus spreads across states in the country, Nigerians have intensified their calls on the president  to address the nation on the  pandemic that infected 11 Nigerians in the last two weeks.

In his response to the calls, Shehu described the calls as “cheap politics and populism saying “these are not the times for populism and cheap politics.”

“In this regard, populist advocacies such as the one accusing the President of “complacency” simply because he has not made a television address by ranking members of our respected parliament are cheap and sensational.

He however, explained that government has taken adequate measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the Nigerian people, citing the president’s recent travel ban on 13 countries with more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and suspension of visas to the nationals of the countries which is expected to take effect as from  March 20.

Garba also cited the reduction in the price of premium motor spiri (PMS) from N145 to N125  per litre as one of those measures to cushion the impacts of the virus on the Nigerian economy.

He added that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday announced N1.1trillion  credit relief and established a facility for household, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with reduction of interest rates for loans from 9 per cent to 5 per cent for businesses that may be affected by the virus.  



    Calling on Nigerians to unite to fight the plague, Shehu said “North, South, East, and West – all Nigerians must unite to fight this plague, irrespective of religious or ideological affiliation.”

    “We do not want to create panic. But we will continue to update the Nigerian public with relevant information.

    “We plead with every Nigerian to cooperate with the government in the fight against Covid-19 and obey all instructions from the NCDC.

    “We also plead with Nigerians not to see this most peculiar of times as one to be politicised or seen as an opportunity to regurgitate grudges against the government or the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).”

    Samad Uthman is a multimedia journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting. He tweets @sarmerdk2 and can be shot through [email protected]

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