Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari has advised Nigerians against disobeying the lockdown rule that was imposed on the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Lagos and Ogun State as a move to defeat the coronavirus, while promising more interventions for vulnerable citizens.
Nigeria’s president Buhari ordered a lockdown on three states in Nigeria, which affected the FCT-Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states for an initial period of 14 days. Although the most populous country in Africa did not announce a national lockdown, several other states joined the lockdown move to avoid spreading the virus.
Buhari, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Saturday, thanked Nigerians for their patience, resolve and strong determination to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement from the presidency reads, “But we must ask you, once more, to observe restrictions on movement where they are in place, and follow the instructions of our scientists and medical advisers: stay home, wash your hands, save lives.
“The freedom we ask you to willingly forsake today will only last as long as our scientific advisers declare they are necessary. But they are essential, the world over, to halt and defeat the spread of this virus.
“For those who suffer most egregiously, the government has announced multiple measures to assist: 70,000 tonnes of grain are being released from the National Strategic Grain Reserves for distribution to those in most need.
“Distribution of small cash payments are also being made and will continue to be made by the Federal Government in the states and local government areas.”
Muhammadu Buhari appealed to members of the public to listen to and follow public announcements via the mass media for instructions as to how to receive government support, and learn of more public assistance in the coming days.
The statement further quoted Buhari as saying, “All that the government is asking you to endure is because nowhere in the world today is there any known way of defeating this pandemic.
There is no vaccine. And that means there are choices to be made: between continuing as usual and accepting the restrictions even when they come with unintended consequences.
“But at this darkest hour, it remains our duty to offer you the full and unvarnished truth: this is a global pandemic – 210 countries and territories across the globe are affected. We cannot expect others to come to our assistance. No one is coming to defeat this virus for us.
“Instead, the defeat of the virus in our country will be in our hands, alone. We cannot wait for others. We can only depend on ourselves now. And so we must – and we will – end this outbreak ourselves as Nigerians.”
As the lockdown rule at places where they are in place looks to extend its duration, the Peoples Democratic Party, African Democratic Congress, Christian Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs have stated support if doing so is the only way to reduce the spread of the virus in the country.