President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday ordered a two-week lockdown of Lagos, Ogun states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as part of measures to contain rising cases of coronavirus in the nation.
In a nationwide broadcast, the president said only workers on
essential duties are exempted from the order.
The President said the restrictions would begin at 11 p.m. on Monday, March 30.
Part of the president’s address reads: “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.
“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.
“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 organizations in health care related
manufacturing and distribution.
“ Furthermore, 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.
“ 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.
“ 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. I will therefore ask all
of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to
safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.
“ As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results.
“ 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.
“Furthermore, although schools are closed, 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.”
As at the time of the broadcast, the Nigerian Centre for Disease
Control (NCDC) reports that the country has recorded 111 confirmed cases with Lagos leading with 68 cases, FCT (21), Oyo (7), Ogun (3) and Ekiti, Edo, Bauchi states with 2 cases each while Rivers, Benue and Kaduna states have one case each.