In pursuant of efforts to contain the growing cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari Sunday in a national broadcast ordered a total lockdown of Lagos and Abuja, beginning from 11pm on Monday, March 30.
The President who disclosed that the restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States said, “In Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or an under reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.”
While not wanting to undermine the onerous task to contain the virus spread, the President further ordered that, “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.”
For the enforcement of his presidential order he said, “Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.”
Also, “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.”
The presidential lockdown directives contained the following exemptions;
1. This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.
2. Commercial establishments such as;
a. food processing, distribution and retail companies;
b. petroleum distribution and retail entities,
c. power generation, transmission and distribution companies; andd. private security companies are also exempted.
Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.
3. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Some more presidential order includes;
1. 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.
2. Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.
The President haven considered the possible hardship the recent government measures will cause the people, provided some palliatives;
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. I have directed that a three month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.
4. I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.
5. For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.