Journalism of Courage

COVID-19 Lockdown/Restrictions: FG warns violators




… plans to reach 11m people nationwide for palliatives




Violators of the Federal Government’s restrictions following a lockdown of some states and the Federal Capital Territory may soon incur the wrath of the authorities, the Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, has warned.


The government is also targeting about 11 million Nigerians to give palliatives that will cushion the effects of the measures introduced to fight coronavirus.


Mustapha said with the initial feedbacks government was getting, there are violations of the restriction order by the citizens.


Mustapha, at a media briefing on the pandemic on Tuesday, said the restrictions and regulations are for the good of the people and to save lives.


“Let me emphasize that the decision to lockdown is to prevent community spread of the virus which may be dangerous to manage.


“It can only be done by Nigerians and for Nigerians,” he said.


Persecondnews reports that the briefing was attended by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Aviation, Hedi Sirika, and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,  Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk.


Others are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, his Interior Ministry counterpart, Mr Rauf Aregbesola and the Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu,


The Minister of Health, Ehanire, said as at March 31, the country had recorded 135 confirmed cases and two deaths.


He gave the breakdown of cases by states as Lagos – 81, FCT- 25, Ogun – 4, Enugu- 2, Ekiti- 1, Oyo- 8, Edo- 2, Bauchi- 2, Osun-5, Rivers-1, Benue- 1 and Kaduna- 3.


He said additional strategies were developed to identify contact tracing to support case dictation, isolation and treatment in other to reduce infection.


According to Ehanire, the closure of land borders and airports will help to reduce the number of “importation’’ of the virus into the country, adding that new cases are returnees from abroad.


He disclosed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had engaged hundreds of adhoc staff to support call centers, contact tracing and laboratory work in addition to many retired staff of NCDC and the Ministry of Health that have been re-engaged.


“Training is ongoing for medical personnel to support all preparedness and treatment and about 1,000 beds are being prepared in Abuja to be used immediately if the need arises.


“More testing sites have been opened in Ibadan and Abakiliki, while exiting laboratories are being optimized,’’ he said.


NCDC Director-General, Ihekweazu, said the strategy being deployed for now is containment.


“It means we are still at a point where we have a window of opportunity to identify all the cases, confirm if they have the disease, confirm all their contacts, follow up each of them, make sure they don’t have the disease and for those who have the disease bring them into care.


“This is a very tedious process we are following up about  5,000 contacts across the country.



“This is the time to really hold ourselves accountable by carrying out these measures. It is only by doing this and bearing this pain for the next few weeks that we will have a chance of containing this outbreak,’’ he added.



On his part, Sirika said only essential flights would be allowed during the lockdown period, adding all airports remain closed.


“Aircrafts qualified to fly include those in distress in other to save lives, those on technical stop to refuel, medical evacuation, essential cargo flights, certain diplomatic flights, humanitarian flights and those bringing in food items, medical equipment and medicine as well as security flights.’’


For the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, at least 11 million Nigerians will be reached with palliatives to cushion COVID-19 measures.


On internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Northeast, Farouk said they had already received two months rations of relief materials.


Farouk disclosed that about 2.6 million households in the 35 states have been identified and are captured in the social register for the vulnerable.


Foreign Affairs Minister Onyeama said : “We are in touch with foreign countries and learning from them.


“The Diplomatic Corps in Nigeria is an important constituency and for some of them that want to leave the country has to oblige them and facilitate the possibility for them to leave.



“We are also engaging countries on some equipment that we don’t have. As you know we are very short of ventilators. So we have engaged a lot of countries.’’


On the riot that broke out at the Kaduna Custodial Centre, Aregbesola, said the inmates had reacted to some misinformation through the social media that amnesty has been granted to some set of prisoners.

“The situation has been brought under control and we declared the information as fake and false. Government is working on appropriate measures to decongest the custodial centre.’’

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