Last month, the president ordered that Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, be put on full lockdown, effective March 30, in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
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; extending the lockdown till April 27.
In a statement on Tuesday, April 14, Sanwo-Olu said the extension was a tough decision that needed to be taken to prevent more catastrophic results.
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.
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.
An uptick in criminal activities has been reported in communities in Lagos and Ogun over the past few days, with many residents resorting to vigilante action, and police authorities believed to be overstretched.
However, Sanwo-Olu said security operatives will continue to rise to the occasion to stop criminals from exploiting the current situation.
“The Police have been responsive but in the last 24 hours we have worked to increase surveillance and response time,” he said.
He said the second half of the first phase of his government’s food relief distribution which is targeted at the most vulnerable is also on course.
“The federal government’s conditional cash transfer has also begun to help reduce the burden and we are working on doing more,” the governor assured.
He acknowledged that the state is contending with structural challenges worsened by the lockdown, but he appealed to Lagosians to continue to show strength and empathy to ensure success in contain coronavirus.
Lagos is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria and has recorded 189 out of Nigeria’s total of 343 coronavirus cases.
As of April 13, Nigeria has recorded cases in 19 states and the FCT. 91 people have recovered from the virus and been discharged, but 11 people have died.