Nigeria has imposed a 14 day lock down on Lagos and Abuja starting from 10pm on Monday, 30th March 2020 in a bid to curb the spread of corona virus.
According to the President Muhammadu Buhari, in a televised address to the nation, all citizens are to stay in their homes. Travel to and from states should also been postponed.
This restriction also covers Ogun state because of its close proximity to Lagos state.
Nigeria has so far recorded 111 confirmed cases, and one confirmed death from the corona virus, however, testing has been very limited.
Lagos authorities had previously shut down schools, and limited gatherings.
Read his full speech below:
The whole world is currently facing a difficult time on account of the respiratory COVID nineteen pandemic.
Nigeria, unfortunately, confirmed its first case on 28th February 2020. Since then, we have seen the number of confirmed cases rise slowly.
By 28th March 2020 at 4pm, the total confirmed cases within Nigeria has risen to eighty-nine.
Regrettably, we also had our first fatality, a former employee of PPMC, who died on 23rd March 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time.
Today, COVID nineteen has no cure. Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine.
We are in touch with these institutions as they work towards a solution that is certified by international and local medical authorities within the shortest possible time.
This means today, the greatest and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygienic and sanitary practices as well as social distancing.
As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic. By washing our hands with water and soap, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and areas, coughing into a tissue or elbow and strictly adhering to infection prevention control measures in health facilities, we can contain this virus.
Since the outbreak was reported in China, our Government has been monitoring the situation closely and studying the various responses adopted by our friends and allies.
Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach. I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.
Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimised. We ask all Nigerians to all support the work the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC is doing, led by the Presidential Task Force.
Although we have adopted strategies used globally, our implementation programs have been tailored to reflect our local realities.
In Nigeria, we are taking a two step approach.
First, to project the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with peace of mind.
To date, we have introduced healthcare measures, border security, fiscal and monetary policies in our response. We shall continue to do so as the situation unfolds.
These policies will surely cause major inconveniences to our citizens. But these are sacrifices we should all be willing and ready to make for the greater good of our country.
In Nigeria’s fight against COVID nineteen, 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.
Accordingly, as a Government, we will continue to rely on guidance of our medical professionals and experts at the Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant agencies through this difficult time.
I therefore urge all citizens to adhere to their guidelines as they are released.
As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.
This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.
We also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop an implementable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change. This strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.
Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond consistently.
So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of adhoc staff to man our call centers 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 tactical and operational response to the virus if the need arises.
This training will also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.
As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies must be eliminated. We cannot afford to make any mistakes.
As I mentioned earlier, we have eighty-nine confirmed cases in Nigeria as at 28th March 2020. Majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. They are getting the necessary medical care.
Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people they have been in contact with.
Indeed, the few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have travelled from these areas.
We must therefore ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread.
Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th 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.
The Governors of Lagos and Ogun State as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligences 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 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 organisations 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.
Telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.
We are fully aware that such measures will cause undue hardship and inconvenience to many citizens.
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 impacted by this order to put aside our personal comfort in the greater interest of the nation. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together as one country.
As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID nineteen. Many other countries have taken similar 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 impacted 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 programs during this period without compromising our social distancing policies. The Minister will be contacting the affected States on detailed next steps.
Of course, as we monitor the spread of the disease across the country, we shall come back with more guidance.
Furthermore, 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 Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.
For on-lending facilities issued 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 two months be paid upfront. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.
We also call on all Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.
As we all pray for the best possible outcome, we shall continue planning for all eventualities.
This is why I directed that all Federal Government Stadiums, Pilgrims camps and other facilities be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.
My fellow Nigerians, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to do whatever it takes.
We are grateful to see the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as our development partners.
At this point, I will ask that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending. The Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating bodies on the COVID nineteen response.
I want to assure you all that all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a role to play in the outbreak response are working hard to bring this under control.
Every nation in the world is challenged at this time. But we have seen countries where citizens have come together to reduce the spread of the virus.
I will therefore implore that you strictly comply with the guidelines issued and also do your bit to support Government and the most vulnerable in your communities.
I will take this opportunity to thank all our public health workforce, health care workers, port health authorities and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment. You are true heroes.
I thank you all for listening. May God continue to bless and protect us all.
President Muhammadu Buhari
28th March 2020.