President Muhammadu Buhari Monday extended the movement restriction in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for an extra 14 days in a bid to effectively tackle the coronavirus pandemic that has infected 323 Nigerians in the last few weeks.
The president had on March 29 ordered a total cessation of movement in the three cities in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
The initial 14-day restriction is due for expiration midnight Monday.
In a nationwide address to update Nigerians on his administration’s efforts to rid the country of the scourge, the President said the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that, a large proportion of new infections are now occurring in the country through person-to-person contacts.
He said the government must, therefore, pay attention to the danger of close contact between person to person in a bid to flatten the curve of transmission in Nigeria.
He urged Nigerians to continue to take responsibility for the recommended measures to prevent transmission, including maintaining physical distancing, good personal hygiene and staying at home.
The President said: “In addition, I have signed the Quarantine Order in this regard and additional regulations to provide clarity in respect of the control measures for the COVID-19 pandemic which will be released soon.
“The public health response to COVID-19 is built on our ability to detect, test and admit cases as well as trace all their contacts. While I note some appreciable progress, we can achieve a lot more.
“Today, the cessation of movement, physical distancing measures and the prohibition of mass gatherings remain the most efficient and effective way of reducing the transmission of the virus. By sustaining these measures, combined with extensive testing and contact tracing, we can take control and limit the spread of the disease.
“Our approach to the virus remains in two steps – First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners.
“With this in mind and having carefully considered the briefings and Report from the Presidential Task Force and the various options offered, it has become necessary to extend the current restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT for another 14 days effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020.
“ I am therefore once again asking you all to work with the government in this fight.
“This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have been closed. The Pope celebrated Mass on an empty St. Peter’s Square. The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris held Easter Mass with less than 10 people. India, Italy and France are in complete lockdown. Other countries are in the process of following suit. We cannot be lax.
“The previously issued guidelines on exempted services shall remain.
“This is a difficult decision to take, but I am convinced that this is the right decision. The evidence is clear.
“The repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable.
“We must not lose the gains achieved thus far. We must not allow a rapid increase in community transmission. We must endure a little longer.
“I will therefore take this opportunity to urge you all to notify the relevant authorities if you or your loved ones develop any symptoms. I will also ask our health care professionals to redouble their efforts to identify all suspected cases, bring them into care and prevent transmission to others.”
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
FEATURES: Rise in Monkeypox infection troubling Nigeria’s rural population
In this features, KELECHUKWU IRUOMA goes into the rural communities of Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria to uncover the plight of...
SPECIAL REPORT: Kwara communities groan as erosion washes away roads, property
For a number of years communities in Ilorin South LGA of Kwara State have had to live with the menace...
SPECIAL REPORT: Lack of legal provisions, cultural sentiments fueling marital r*pe in Nigeria
By Arinze Chijioke In the early days of Sandra Izuckukwu’s marriage in 2019, her husband, Sunday Izuchukwu, did everything she...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (IV): Surviving in a dangerous media environment
This investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019 and 2020. For six...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (III): Precious Owolabi was killed covering a protest
This investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019-2020. For six months, Nigerian...