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COVID-19: Buhari orders lockdown of Lagos, Abuja, Ogun for 14 days

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for an initial period of 14 days with effect from Monday, to check the spread of coronavirus disease.

Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

The President, who gave the directive in a broadcast to Nigerians over the coronavirus pandemic in Abuja on Sunday, March 29, 2020 said the decision was based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease control (NCDC),

“I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, March 30, 2020.

“This restriction will also apply to Ogun State 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.

According to him, 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 said: “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 organisations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.”

The president, however, stated 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.

“’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,” he added.

President Buhari directed the Minister of Health 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,” he said.

The Nigerian president stated that all those affected by this order to put aside personal comfort to safeguard the nation and fellow human beings, saying that this ”common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice”.

By Ismaila Chafe

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