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Nigerian President prohibits movement, bans all commercial and private flights

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President Muhammadu Buhari has announced the prohibition of movement in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states as well as banning all commercial and private flights.

In a nationwide broadcast on Sunday, 29 March 2020 Buhari ordered that with effect from eleven pm on Monday, no exit and entry into Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states will be permitted.

He noted that the virus which was first recorded on 27 February 2020 has become pandemic, which requires a comprehensive approach to contain the spread.

“I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT (Abuja) for an initial period of fourteen days with effect from eleven pm on Monday, thirtieth March 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,’’ he said.

He said that the nation would use the containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals, who have come in contact with confirmed cases and also ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other states.

In his broadcast on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), he said the order on the restriction of movement did not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organisations in healthcare-related manufacturing and distribution.

Others exempted from the lockdown are food processing, distribution, and retail companies; distribution and retail entities; power generation, transmission, distribution companies, and private security companies.

“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 said.

He 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.

Mindful of the hardship and inconvenience to many citizens, he said that it was a matter of life and death.

He also announced some palliative measures aside from the initial intervention of N15 billion to support the national response and the creation of a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change.

“So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of ad-hoc staff to man our call centres and support our tracing and testing efforts.

“I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all State Governments to nominate Doctors and Nurses who will be trained by the NCDC and Lagos State Government on the tactical and operational response to the virus in case it spreads to other states,’’ he continued.

On the fiscal relief, he stated: “I have directed that a three-month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.

“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.

“For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.

“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,.’

He urged Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.

– APA

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