President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered restrictions of all movements in and out of Lagos state and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as Ogun state for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11:00pm Monday, March 30, 2020.
He announced this in a national broadcast Sunday as part of measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus disease.
The president said that all citizens in the affected areas are to stay at home.
“Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.
“The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.
“We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.
“This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organisations in health care related manufacturing and distribution,” he said.
The president said government would deploy relief materials to ease the pains of residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods would be affected by some of these restrictive measures.
“Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with state governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during this period without compromising our social distancing policies. The Minister will be contacting the affected States and agree on detailed next steps.
“Furthermore, I have directed that a three month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.
“I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.
“For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.
“For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks,” the president also said.
President Buhari also announced the suspension of movement of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, saying special permits would be issued when the need arises.
“We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France and Spain.
“However, we must all see this as our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus. I will therefore ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.
“As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results,” he said.
The president also said: “From the first signs that Coronavirus, or COVID-19 was turning into an epidemic and was officially declared a world-wide emergency, the Federal Government started planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event the disease hits Nigeria.
“ The whole instruments of government are now mobilised to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis. Nigeria, unfortunately, confirmed its first case on 27th February 2020. Since then, we have seen the number of confirmed cases rise slowly.
“By the morning of March 29th, 2020, the total confirmed cases within Nigeria had risen to ninety-seven. Regrettably, we also had our first fatality, a former employee of PPMC, who died on 23rdMarch 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. We also pray for quick recovery for those infected and undergoing treatment.
“As of today, COVID-19 has no cure. Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine. We are in touch with these institutions as they work towards a solution that will be certified by international and local medical authorities within the shortest possible time.”
On those exempted from the lockdown, the president said: “This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organisations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.
“ Furthermore, commercial establishments such as food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities, power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies are also exempted.
“Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.
“All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.
“Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.”
Meanwhile, Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Muhammad Babandede has tested positive for the dreaded Coronavirus.
The Immigration boss who returned from the United Kingdom has since remained in self-isolation ahead of the outcome of the test.
A statement from the service Sunday confirmed the development.
“The result of the test came out positive, hence the need to make it public. He conveys his goodwill to all and he is in stable condition responding to treatment.
“The Comptroller General is active and directing as expected the affairs of the service online, while the Deputy Comptroller General Overseeing the administration of the service is in touch online to keep service activities running within this period.
“The Nigeria Immigration Service community will continue to deliver on its mandate for the nation even in this trying times as we pray the whole world get over it, Nigeria inclusive,” the statement said.
Cases now 111
Although President Buhari announced 97 cases, latest figure from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed the figure had risen to 111 as at 9.30pm.
According to the NCDC, “Fourteen new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; 9 in Lagos and 5 in FCT
“As at 09:30 pm 29th March there are 111 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria with 1 death.”
Similarly, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan Professor Jesse Otegbayo, and Provost College of Medicine University of Ibadan Professor Oluwabunmi Olapade-Olaopa have both tested positive for the virus.
UCH Public Relations Officer Toye Akinrinlola confirmed this Sunday in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Professor Otegbayo, had earlier revealed news of contracting the virus on his official Twitter account @UchCmd.
He tweeted: “On Monday, 23rd March, we commenced a 12-man quarterly board meeting which was meant to last five days in the hospital, we observed social distancing and other precautionary measures for COVID-19 as much as possible.
“However, on Wednesday morning, one of us presented with what appeared to be symptoms of COVID-19, his samples were immediately taken for test and the meeting called off.
“His results returned positive on Friday morning and every participant (including me) immediately went into self-isolation while our samples were also taken for test.
“Unfortunately, my result returned positive on Saturday afternoon and I remain in isolation as I am not symptomatic.
” All staff who have been in contact with me and other participants during this period have been advised to immediately proceed on self-isolation pending the time they get tested.
“COVID-19 is spreading faster than we think and I enjoin everyone to take precautions. If one person has it, then a gathering of two becomes dangerous.
” Stay at home, avoid unnecessary outing and stay safe.”
Also, Professor Olapade-Olaopa, in a statement Sunday said he and his deputy, Professor Obafunke Denloye, also tested positive for the deadly virus.
“I wish to inform you that the Deputy Provost and I tested positive for the COVID 19 following tests done on Friday.
“Although we are both asymptomatic, we have gone into self-isolation for 14 days whilst our contacts are being observed closely to determine if they should also be tested,” he said. (NAN)
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister of Germany’s Hesse State, Mr. Thomas Schaefer has committed suicide after becoming ‘deeply worried’ over how to cope with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, State Premier, Volker Bouffier said Sunday.
Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track Saturday and was believed to have died of suicide, according to the Wiesbaden prosecution’s office.
“We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all, we are immensely sad,” Bouffier said in a recorded statement.
Hesse is home to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have their headquarters. The European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt.
A visibly shaken Bouffier recalled that Schaefer, who was Hesse’s finance chief for 10 years, had been working “day and night” to help companies and workers deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Today we have to assume that he was deeply worried,” said Bouffier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“It’s precise during this difficult time that we would have needed someone like him,” he added.
Popular and well-respected, Schaefer had long been touted as a possible successor to Bouffier.
Like Bouffier, Schaefer belonged to Merkel’s centre-right CDU party.