Expect new directives from Buhari on Monday, SGF tells Nigerians

Nigerians should expect new directives on Monday as the movement restriction put in place to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus ends on Sunday.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said this shortly after he led members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The meeting was to brief the president on the PTF’s activities in the fight against the global pandemic.

President Buhari had on April 27 announced the gradual easing of a five week lockdown in FCT, Lagos and Ogun state. The lockdown was eased to a nationwide night curfew (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) from May 4 to May 17.

New Directives

Mr Mustapha, who chairs the PTF, said it is already 13 days since the president announced the gradual easing of the lockdown.

He said new processes should be expected as the country is in for the long haul.

“We have supplied him (President Buhari) with all the materials that is required to look at the issues. Because we are in for the long haul.

”But remember on the 27th of April, he addressed the nation and in place the easing down of the lockdown effective from the 4th of May.

”From the 4th of May to date is about 13 days, tomorrow we should expect new processes to be put in place,” Mr Mustapha said.

The national coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu, also told Channels Television that Mr Buhari would address Nigerians on Monday.

Total lockdown

President Buhari had declared a two-week lockdown of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun during his first address on the COVID-19 pandemic on March 29.

The lockdown was part of other measures to limit the spread of the virus in Nigeria.

On April 12, the president addressed the nation again on the same issue and announced the extension of the lockdown by another two weeks.

In his third address on April 27, the president extended the lockdown by one more week.

He, however, said the lockdown would be relaxed from May 4.

The president said the decision to relax the lockdown was taken based on the recommendations of the PTF, the various federal government committees who reviewed the socio-economic impact of the restrictions and the Nigeria Governors Forum.

Airport closure

To limit the importation of new cases into the country, the Nigerian government shut down its international airports and land borders on March 23, for an initial period of one month. It was later extended by two weeks.

Following the completion of the two weeks extension, the closure of all Nigeria’s airports was extended by another four more weeks.

However, emergency and essential flights are allowed to operate from any of the airports within the period.

Despite the closure of Nigeria’s land border, a PREMIUM TIMES investigation shows that migrants have been defying the lockdown and border closure and are moving between Nigeria and its West African neighbour, Benin Republic, by sea.

They do so with the support of corrupt security personnel who extort travellers and turn blind eyes.

A total of 5,959 infections have been reported in Nigeria since the index case in February. Of that number, 4,183 cases are still active, 1,549 have recovered and have been discharged, and 182 deaths have been reported.

Interstate travel ban

To contain the spread of the virus, President Buhari on April 27 announced a ban on interstate travels except for essential products.

There have however been several reports of travellers violating the interstate bans.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported the massive movement of travellers across the states, mostly smuggled in trucks carrying food items or livestock.

One of the sure things about the pandemic is that as long as people keep moving the virus keeps spreading.

Only two states – Cross River and Kogi – are yet to have any confirmed case of the virus in Nigeria.

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