President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday extended the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja for one more week.
Buhari in a nationwide broadcast said the lockdown would be lifted in phases effective Monday, May 4, 2020.
However, the President who regretted various challenges Nigerians have been going through in the last one month since he announced the beginning of the lockdown, thanked them for their resilience.
The statement read:
“Fellow Nigerians, for the past four weeks, most parts of our country have been under either Federal Government or State Government lockdowns. As I mentioned earlier, these steps were necessary and overall, have contributed to slowing down the spread of COVID nineteen in Nigeria.
“However, such lock downs have also come at a very heavy economic cost. Many of our citizens have lost their means of livelihoods. Many businesses have also shut down. No country can afford the full impact of a sustained lockdown while awaiting the development of vaccines or cures.
“In my last address, I mentioned the Federal Government will develop strategies and policies that will protect lives while preserving livelihoods.
“In these two weeks, the Federal and State Governments have jointly and collaboratively worked hard on this how to balance the need to protect health while also preserving livelihoods, leveraging global best practice while keeping in mind our peculiar circumstances.
“We looked at how our factories, markets, traders and transporters can continue to function while at the same time respecting adhering to the NCDC guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.
“We assessed how our children can continue to learn without compromising their health.
“We reviewed how our farmers can safely plant and harvest in this rainy season to ensure our food security is not compromised. Furthermore, we also discussed how to safely transport food items from rural production areas to industrial processing zones and ultimately, to the key consumption centers.
“Our goal was to develop implementable policies that will ensure our economy continues to function with while still maintaining our aggressive response to the COVID nineteen pandemic. These same difficult decisions are being faced by leaders around the world.
“Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID nineteen, the various Federal Government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have approved for a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Monday, 4th May, 2020 at 9am.
“However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.
“The highlights of the new nationwide measures are as follows;
Selected businesses and offices can open from 9am to 6pm;
There will be an overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am. This means all movements are will be prohibited during this period except essential services;
There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice;
There will be partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed to allow for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers; and
We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene.
Furthermore, the restrictions of on social and religious gathers shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.
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“For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos & Ogun States shall subsist remain in place until these new ones come into effect on Monday, 4th May 2020 at 9am.
“The Presidential Task Force shall provide sector specific details and timing guidelines to allow for preparations by Governments, businesses and institutions.
“The above are guidelines. State Governors may choose to amend adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances provided they maintain alignment with the guidelines issued above on public health and hygiene.
“These revised guidelines do will not apply for to Kano State. The total lockdown recently announced by the State Government shall remain enforced be enforced for the full duration. The Federal Government shall deploy all the necessary human, material and technical resources to support the State in controlling and containing the pandemic.
“I wish to once again commend the frontline workers across the country who, on a daily basis, risk everything to ensure we win this fight. For those who got infected in the line of duty, be rest assured that Government will do all it takes to support you and your families during this exceedingly difficult period. I will also take this opportunity to assure you all that your safety, wellbeing and welfare remains paramount to our Government.
“I will also recognize recognise the support we have received from our traditional rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and other prominent religious and community leaders. 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.
“I will also thank the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Presidential Task Force for all their hard work to date. Through this collaboration, I remain confident that success is achievable.
“I also wish to thank corporate organisations, philanthropists, the UN family, the European Union, friendly nations, the media and other partners that have taken up the responsibility of supporting our response.
“And finally, I will thank all Nigerians again for your patience and cooperation during this difficult and challenging period. I assure you that government shall continue to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and livelihoods our citizens and residents.