Last month, the president ordered that Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja be put on full lockdown, effective March 30, for 14 days in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The affected states were, at the time, Nigeria’s most pressing areas of concerns where coronavirus cases had been confirmed.
In a national broadcast on Monday, April 13, the president expressed concerns that despite the nation’s best efforts, coronavirus cases have doubled since the lockdown was initiated especially in both Lagos and the FCT.
Even though the disease has also spread to eight more states since then, he said the government’s efforts will continue to focus on Lagos and the FCT where a combined 71% of cases (323 in total) have been recorded.
“Our approach to the virus remains in two steps – First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners.
“With this in mind and 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 effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020. I am therefore once again asking you all to work with Government in this fight.
“This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death,” he said.
Buhari said the restriction of movement and social distancing measures remain the most effective ways to reduce transmission of the virus and urged Nigerians to continue to adhere to all recommended measures for prevention.
Nigeria has recorded coronavirus cases in 19 states and the FCT [NCDC]
Buhari addresses lockdown extension concerns
With social and economic activities widely restricted, concerns have been raised about the likely terrible effects of the lockdown with many poor Nigerians unable to fend for their daily bread.
An uptick in criminal activities has been reported in communities in Lagos and Ogun over the past two days, with many homeowners resorting to vigilante action, and police authorities believed to be overstretched.
Many have expressed fears that an extension will only worsen the situation in a country where almost half the population, estimated at around 200 million, is considered to be among the world’s poorest.
Palliatives provided by the state and federal government have been deemed insufficient and badly-distributed, with millions of Nigerians unable to benefit.
President Buhari acknowledged in his address that no country can afford the full impact of a sustained restriction of movement on its economy.
The president promised to further step up palliative measures for those who depend on a daily wage.
“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.
He assured that security agencies will continue to maintain utmost vigilance and restraint in enforcing the restriction orders.
Nigeria has recorded coronavirus cases in 19 states and the FCT, as of April 12.
85 people have recovered from the virus and been discharged, but 10 people have died.
States affected by coronavirus
Total confirmed cases – 323
Recovered – 85
Dead – 10
- Lagos – 176
- FCT – 56
- Osun – 20
- Edo – 12
- Oyo – 11
- Ogun – 7
- Bauchi – 6
- Kaduna – 6
- Akwa Ibom – 5
- Katsina – 5
- Kwara – 4
- Delta – 3
- Enugu – 2
- Ekiti – 2
- Rivers – 2
- Ondo – 2
- Benue – 1
- Niger – 1
- Anambra – 1
- Kano – 1