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Buhari eases COVID-19 lockdown of FCT, Ogun, Lagos from May 4, imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew nationwide

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President Muhammadu Buhari has imposed an overnight daily curfew from 8.00pm to 6.00am on all the 36 states until further notice.

Similarly, the president has approved a “phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures’’ in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Saturday, May 4 at 9.00am.

As canvassed by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, a ban has been placed on non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice while a “partial and controlled interstate movement’’ will be allowed to allow for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers.

Selected businesses and offices can also open from 9am to 6pm, according to the president.

In a broadcast to the nation on Monday evening, Buhari said all movements would be prohibited during the curfew except those of essential services.

On Kano situation, the president said the total lockdown recently announced by the state government shall remain in force for the full duration, promising that the Federal Government would deploy all the necessary human, material and technical resources to support the state in controlling and containing the pandemic.

Buhari noted that for the past four weeks, most parts of our country have been under either Federal Government or State Government  lockdowns, saying `these steps were necessary and overall, have contributed to slowing down the spread of COVID nineteen in Nigeria’’.

The President said henceforth mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene would be enforced whie restrictions of on social and religious gathers shall remain in force.

“ State Governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.’’

Buhari said:“As at yesterday, 26th April 2020, some three million confirmed cases of COVID nineteen have been recorded globally with about nine hundred thousand recoveries. Unfortunately, some two hundred thousand people have also diedpassed away as a result of this pandemic.

“The health systems and economies of many nations continue to struggle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nigeria continues to adopt and adapt to these new global realities on a daily basis. This evening, I will present the facts as they are and explain our plans for the coming month knowing fullyfully aware that some key variables and assumptions may change in the coming days or weeks.

“Exactly two weeks ago, there were three hundred and twenty three confirmed cases in 20 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
As at this morning, Nigeria has recorded one thousand two hundred and seventy-three cases across 32 States and the FCT. Unfortunately, these casesthis includes 40 deaths fatalities.’’

The President expressed deepest condolences to the families of all Nigerians that had lost their lives loved ones as a result of the COVID nineteen Pandemic.

“This is our collective loss and we share in your grief. Initial models predicted that Nigeria will record an estimated two thousand confirmed cases in the first month after the index case.

“This means that despite the drastic increase in the number of confirmed cases recorded in the past two weeks, the measures we have put in place thus far have yielded positive outcomes against the projections.

“The proportion of cases imported from other countries has reduced to only 19% of new cases, showing that our border closures yielded positive results. . These are mostly fellow Nigerians returning through our land borders. We will continue to enforce land border arrival protocols as part of the containment strategy.

He disclosed that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had accredited 15 laboratories across the country with an aggregate capacity to undertake 2,500 tests per day across the country.

“Based on your feedback, Lagos the State Government and the FCT with support from NCDC is hasve established several sample collection centers in Lagos and the FCT.

“They are also reviewing their laboratory testing strategy to further increase the number of tests they can perform including the accreditation of selected private laboratories that meet the accreditation criteria.

“Several new fully equipped treatment and isolation centres have been operationalised across the country thereby increasing bed capacity to about three thousand.

“At this point, I will commend the State Governors for the activation of State-level Emergency Operation Centres, establishment of new treatment centres and the delivery of aggressive risk communication strategies,’’ Buhari said.

He said about 10, 000 healthcare workers have been trained while additional personal protective equipment have been distributed to all the states for their protection.

On thewelfare of the healthcare workers, Buhari announced that a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed on the provision of hazard allowances and other incentives with key health sector professional associations.

“We have also procured insurance cover for five thousand frontline health workers. At this point, I must commend the insurance sector for their support in achieving this within a short period of time.

“Nigeria has also continued to receive support from the international community, multilateral agencies, the private sector and public-spirited individuals. This support has ensured that critical lifesaving equipment and materials, which have become scarce globally, are available for Nigeria through original equipment manufacturers and government-to-government processes.

“The distribution and expansion of palliatives which I directed in my earlier broadcast is still on going in a transparent manner.

Iam mindful of the seeming frustration being faced by expectant citizens. I urge all potential beneficiaries to exercise patience as we continue to fine tune our logistical and distribution processes working with the State Governments.’’

Buhari directed the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions to make further plans and provisions for financial stimulus packages for small and medium scale enterprises, describing their roles as critical to Nigeria’s economy.

He commended the frontline workers across the country who, on a daily basis, risk everything to ensure that fight was won, assuring those infected in the line of duty that government would do“ all it takes to support you and your families during this exceedingly difficult period’’
He also traditional rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and other prominent religious and community leaders for their support and contributions. ‘

“Your cooperation and support has significantly contributed to the successes we have recorded to date. I will urge you all to please continue to create awareness on the seriousness of coronavirus among your worshippers and communities while appealing that they strictly comply with  public health advisories.’’

Buhari specially thanked the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Presidential Task Force for all their hard work to date as well as corporate organisations, philanthropists, the UN family, the European Union, friendly nations, the media and other partners.

The president also acknowledged the resilence of security agencies as they continue to rise to the challenge posed by this unusual situation.

“While we feel deeply concerned about isolated security incidents involving hoodlums and miscreants, I want to assure all Nigerians that your safety and security remains our primary concern especially in these exceedingly difficult and uncertain times.

“As we focus on protecting lives and properties, we will not tolerate any human rights abuses by our security agencies. The few reported incidences are regrettableregrettable, and I want to assure you that the culprits will be brought to justice.’’

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