President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State by one week.
From next week Monday, the president said, the lockdown will be relaxed in the three states to night curfews (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.).
The president said this on Monday night while addressing Nigerians on the COVID-19 outbreak.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States shall remain in place until these new ones come into effect on Monday, 4th May 2020,” Mr Buhari said.
The three states have been on a lockdown for four weeks.
In his address, Mr Buhari said he was approving a ‘phased and gradual easing’ of lockdown measures in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun.
Monday’s address was the third by the president since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.
The president said the measures were taken based on the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the various federal government committees who reviewed the socio-economic impact of the restrictions and the Nigeria Governors Forum.
“However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors,” he noted.
The First Lockdown
President Buhari had declared a two-week lockdown of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun during his first address on the pandemic on March 29 to enable the country tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
On April 12, the president addressed the nation again on the same issue and announced the extension of the lockdown by another two weeks.
Some Nigerians, including state governors, have called for a partial lifting of the lockdown, with the governors forum advising intra-state movement be allowed, while interstate trips should be restricted.
They have also suggested a compulsory use of face masks in public places as well continued ban on large gatherings.
But the Nigerian Medical Association had advised the government to extend the lockdown by two more weeks, raising concerns a spike in the spread of the contagion if the country reopens now.
Nigeria’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 1,273 on Sunday from 1,182 reported on Saturday evening by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The president in his Monday night highlighted new nationwide measures for easing the lockdown as follows:
a. Selected businesses and offices can open from 9 a.m. to 6p.m. daily;
b. There will be an overnight curfew from 8 p.m. to 6am. This means all movements are will be prohibited during this period except essential services;
c. There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice;
d. There will be partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed to allow for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers, and
e. We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene. Furthermore, the restrictions on social and religious gathers shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations, and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.