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Government on top of Covid-19, no cause for panic- Presidency

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Presidency has assured Nigerians that government is on top of the situation of coronavirus pandemic, saying that there is no cause for panic, so far measures put in place are working efficiently while what this country is doing has been recommended as a template.

In a statement released by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu on Thursday, he said Muhammadu Buhari administration has taken some steps to mitigate the effects on the Nigerian people. He said President has already ordered the restrictions of travel from 13 countries, each with more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

“Government has also suspended visas issued to nationals of these countries. The restriction will take effect from March 21 and will remain until further notice. While Nigeria delights in welcoming the world, the safety and protection of our citizens and land must take priority. “The various agencies of government including Media owned by the government have embarked on vigorous campaigns promoting hygiene measures.

There are, currently, very stringent regimes of checks at the points of air and sea entry into the country. The effort Nigeria is making as is well known, has already received the commendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO)”, he said. He added that the President trusts the relevant Ministers in his cabinet and the officials of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), who are providing him with constant updates and professional counsel. These officials have a track record of competence.

The President instructed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to reduce the pump price of fuel. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a crash in the global price of crude oil, and the President decided that every Nigerian should benefit from this. Subsequently, the NNPC announced a 20 naira deduction, and the pump price of fuel has now been reduced from 145 naira per litre to 125 naira per litre.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday announced a credit relief of N1.1Trillion Naira to businesses affected by the pandemic. The Bank has also established a facility for household, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and announced a reduction of interest rates for loans from 9% to 5%. “We do not want to create panic.

But we will continue to update the Nigerian public with relevant information. We plead with every Nigerian to cooperate with the government in the fight against Covid-19 and obey all instructions from the NCDC. We have a high level Presidential Coordination Committee chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

This body should be allowed to carry out its duties. “We also plead with Nigerians not to see this most peculiar of times as one to be politicized or seen as an opportunity to regurgitate grudges against the government or the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). North, South, East, and West – all Nigerians must unite to fight this plague, irrespective of religious or ideological affiliation”, he said.


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