In New Address, President Buhari Says Kano Shuts For Two Weeks, Restrictions On Lagos, Ogun, FCT To Ease On Monday

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday made a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, relaxing from Monday the lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States even as he shut for two weeks, the emerging epicentre of COVID-19 pandemic, Kano State.

Acknowledging the escalation of the spread of the virus despite the lockdown he imposed on the two worst-hit states and the FCT since March 30, the president, in a nationwide broadcast, said no nation could afford to close its economy for longer than necessary hence the need to ease the restriction.

He, therefore, directed the easing of the restriction of movement effective from Monday apparently to give room for the implementation of his fresh measures for the unlocking of the economy of the two states and the federal capital territory.

But Kano that had been home to strange deaths in the last few days came under the president’s total restriction order for two weeks in the first instance.
Buhari last night gave legal backing to his fresh directives aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly virus by signing the Proclamation Order on the General Management of COVID-19 in Lagos, Ogun, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the proclamation order would also be in force in other states in Nigeria as contained in the president’s national broadcast.

The statement added that the order was in the exercise of the powers conferred on the president “by Section 3 of the Quarantine Act, CAP Q2 Laws of the Federation 2004 and all powers enabling him in that behalf.”

The president’s extension of the restriction by a week in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States, and the lockdown of Kano State received justification from last night’s update by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) which showed that the virus had increased its spread by 64 moving the tally since February 27 to 1,337 with 255 persons discharged and 40 dead.

Happily, no new state has recorded an index case, leaving the virus’ territory at 32 states. The 64 new cases were reported from five states, including Lagos 34, FCT 15, Borno 11, Taraba two, and Gombe two.
Specifically, the president imposed a nationwide curfew, lasting from 8 pm to 6 am and banned non-essential inter-state travels, social and religious gatherings form Monday.

He said the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States would henceforth witness a phased lockdown subject to the implementation of certain measures, partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services; and mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public.

He said: “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.”

He highlighted further measures: “There will be an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am. 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.”

According to him, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States will remain in force until the new measures introduced to ease it take effect.
“The Presidential Task Force shall provide sector specific details to allow for preparations by governments, businesses and institutions. In respect to the above guidelines; state governors may choose to adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances provided they maintain alignment with the guidelines issued above.

“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,” he said.

Buhari excluded Kano State from these revised guidelines.
“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,” he stated.

The president commended health workers whom he said had been at the forefront of the battle against the virus, noting that some of them who had been infected would be duly supported by the government.
The president said the lockdown in the last month had had adverse effects on the economy with many businesses shut down.
According to him, no country could sustain the trend while awaiting vaccines for the treatment of the disease.

He explained that both the federal and state governments have been collaborating on how to handle the situation.
He said various reviews had been carried out in recent weeks, including how children would learn during the pandemic and how businesses would continue to run and livelihoods preserved.

Against this background, he said the goals of the governments were to come up with policies that would aid the functioning of the economy while the fight against the pandemic remained in force.
The president acknowledged the support of traditional rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and other prominent religious and community leaders, saying their cooperation and support have contributed to the successes recorded so far.

The president, who also thanked the NGF and the PTF for what he described as their hard work, also saluted corporate organisations, philanthropists, the United Nations (UN) system, the European Union (EU), friendly nations, the media, and other partners for “taking up the responsibility for supporting our response.”

The president thanked and commended Nigerians for their cooperation, sense of resilience and patriotism, which he said they had shown in the country’s collective war “against the biggest health challenge of our generation.”


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