President Muhammed Buhari has said that 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 with effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020, to limit the spread of Covid-19 Pandemic.
While addressing the nation on the Extension of Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown at the State House, Abuja on Monday, he said as the democratically elected leaders, his administration made this difficult decision knowing fully well it will severely disrupt livelihoods and bring undue hardship to Nigerians, but such sacrifices are needed to save lives and limit the spread of the virus in the country.
He asked all Nigerians to work with the Government in this fight. “This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have been closed. The Pope celebrated Mass on an empty St. Peter’s Square. The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris held Easter Mass with less than 10 people. India, Italy and France are in complete lockdown.
Other countries are in the process of following suit. We cannot be lax. “The previously issued guidelines on exempted services shall remain. This is a difficult decision to take, but I am convinced that this is the right decision. The evidence is clear. The repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable.
We must not lose the gains achieved thus far. We must not allow a rapid increase in community transmission. We must endure a little longer”, he said. He therefore urged Nigerians to notify the relevant authorities if loved ones develop any symptoms.
“I will also ask our health care professionals to redouble their efforts to identify all suspected cases, bring them into care and prevent transmission to others. No country can afford the full impact of a sustained restriction of movement on its economy. I am fully aware of the great difficulties experienced especially by those who earn a daily wage such as traders, day-workers, artisans and manual workers.
“For this group, their sustenance depends on their ability to go out. Their livelihoods depend on them mingling with others and about seeking work. But despite these realities we must not change the restrictions. In the past two weeks, we announced palliative measures such as food distribution, cash transfers and loans repayment waivers to ease the pains of our restrictive policies during this difficult time.
These palliatives will be sustained. “I have also directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks. This means we will support an additional one million homes with our social investment programs.
A technical committee is working on this and will submit a report to me by the end of this week”, he said.