COVID-19: President Buhari Grounds Passenger Airlines, Lockdown For Lagos, Abuja, Ogun States For 14 Days Starting March 30 – By Roland Ohaeri

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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, in a national broadcast on March 29, 2020 on government’s efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic in Nigeria, has suspended movements of all passenger aircraft. He also announced that special permits would be granted where needed.


“Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis,” he stated.



According to him, “based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.”



He noted that all citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes, while travel to or from other states should be postponed, and all businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.



“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, he said.”



However, President Buhari said that “this order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in healthcare-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,” he explained.



He further noted that, although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.



He also announced that “workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.”


Importantly, he also announced exemptions concerning seaports and essential cargoes.



“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,” President Buhari said.



He added that 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.



According to him, the Hon. Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones, as he urged citizens to see the restrictions as “our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus.”



Furthermore, he noted that “for residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.”



He also stated that, “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.”


According to President Buhari also, “ I have directed that a three month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.”


“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.”



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 23rd March 2020,” President Buhari stated. 

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