President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the restriction of movement in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states for another 14 days.
He said discouraging large gatherings and encouraging social distancing is still important in curbing the coronavirus disease.
Buhari disclosed this in a broadcast to Nigerians on Monday night.
“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 2 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 Government in this fight,” Buhari said.
He said the majority of cases are in Lagos and Federal Capital Territory, saying it is the reason the government is focusing more on the two locations.
He, however, said the government is concerned with community transmission recently.
Buhari said though the lockdown will distract the lifestyle of Nigerians, it was needed to curb the spread of the disease.
He said compliance has been good all over the country and commended Nigerians for their endurance.
Buhari noted the government was able to achieve a lot during the 14-day lockdown, stressing that it had achieved 92 percent in its tracing.
He said the government was also able to test more people and create more testing centres across the country while training more health workers to attend to patients.
He said though his government was winning the war against the virus, the increased number of confirm cases in the country and in the world was worrisome.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, last Friday in Abuja at the 9th joint national briefing of the PTF, said that the 14-day lockdown, which ends last Sunday, could be extended for few more days to ramp up efforts at containing the spread of the virus.
According to him, with what is happening in other countries, one can easily deduce what the decision of the president will be on the lockdown.
Buhari had, on March 29, 2020, announced 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.
“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 States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nigerians are lamenting that government’s palliatives have not been reaching them.
They urged the government to relax the lockdown.
This was very unlikely with the number of confirmed cases of the virus increasing by the day.
As at Sunday 13 April, the number of confirmed cases in Nigeria is 323. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Sunday recorded five new cases of coronavirus, which has now spread to 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.