…Total lockdown of Kano for 14 days
…Lagos, Ogun, FCT remain locked down for another one week
…Compulsory use of face masks
….Ban on inter state passenger travel; socialize, religious gathering
By Egena Sunday Ode and Tobias Lengnan Dapam
In a renewed effort to check the continuous spread of Covid-19 pandemic in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a nationwide curfew from 8pm to 6am with effect from May 4th.
Buhari also ordered immediate total lockdown of Kano State where the the Coronavirus infection cases have been rising astronomically in the past two weeks coupled with unexplained death of over 150 residents within the same period.
He, however, announced the easing of the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, with effect from the 4th of May when the new measures would have come into effect.
By implication, the lockdown of the two states and the FCT has been extended by one week.
The president made these new measures aimed at containting the spread of the deadly virus known during his nationwide broadcast on Monday.
He also announced that there would be restriction of inter state passenger travels, as well as so I’ll and religious gathering, while the use of face masks in public places would be made compulsory.
According to him, the review of the cumulative lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT and the fresh measures iinyroduced were informed by the huge cost to the economy in the past four weeks and the general well-being of the citizens.
He said: “Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the various Federal Government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have approved a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Monday, 4th May, 2020.
“However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.
“Furthermore, new nationwide measures are to be introduced as follows;
“There will be an overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am. This means all movements will be prohibited during this period except for essential services;
“There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travel until further notice;
“Partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers; and
“We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene. Furthermore, the restrictions on social and religious gatherings shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States shall remain in place until these new ones come into effect on Monday, 4th May 2020.”
On Kano, he said: “In Kano, and indeed many other States that are recording new cases, preliminary findings show that such cases are mostly from interstate travel and emerging community transmission.
“These revised guidelines will not apply to Kano State.
“With regards to Kano, I have directed the enforcement of a total lockdown for a period of two weeks effective immediately. The Federal Government shall deploy all the necessary human, material and technical resources to support the State in controlling and containing the pandemic and preventing the risk of further spread to neighbouring States.
“As we continue to streamline our response in the centres of Lagos and the FCT, I am gravely concerned about the unfortunate developments in Kano in recent days. Although an in-depth investigation is still on-going, we have decided to deploy additional Federal Government manpower, material and technical resources to strengthen and support the State Government’s efforts, with immediate effect.”
According to the President, regardless of the pains of the four weeks lockdown and the cost , its gains with respect to the desired objectives were enormous, especially the last two weeks.
He said: “in these two weeks, the Federal and State Governments have jointly and collaboratively worked hard on how to balance the need to protect health while also preserving livelihoods, leveraging global best practices while keeping in mind our peculiar circumstances.
“We assessed how our factories, markets, traders and transporters can continue to function while at the same time adhering to NCDC guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.
“We assessed how our children can continue to learn without compromising their health.
“We reviewed how our farmers can safely plant and harvest in this rainy season to ensure our food security is not compromised. Furthermore, we also discussed how to safely transport food items from rural production areas to industrial processing zones and ultimately, to the key consumption centres.
“Our goal was to develop implementable policies that will ensure our economy continues to function while still maintaining our aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These same difficult decisions are being faced by leaders around the world.
“To support our businesses and traders, the monetary and fiscal authorities shall deploy all the necessary provisions needed for production to continue and thus, jobs restored.”
On the vexed issue of palliatives, Buhari noted:”The distribution and expansion of palliatives which I directed in my earlier broadcast is still on-going in a transparent manner. I am mindful of the seeming frustration being faced by expectant citizens. I urge all potential beneficiaries to exercise patience as we continue to fine tune our logistical and distribution processes working with the State Governments.”
He earned against perpetuation of human rights abuses while implementing the new policies, saying, “As we focus on protecting lives and properties, we will not tolerate any human rights abuse by our security agencies. The few reported incidences are regrettable, and I want to assure you that the culprits will be brought to justice.”