President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded with Nigerians to obey the stay at home directive, a statement from his office said on Saturday.
A presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, noted that the president has ordered the release of 70,000 tonnes of grain to augment the ongoing palliative being given to vulnerable Nigerians.
The grain is to be released from the National Strategic Grain Reserves, Mr Shehu wrote in his statement.
“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, world over, to halt and defeat the spread of this virus,” the president said.
“We realize that today, there will be sons and daughters unable to visit their parents, and elders that are isolated from young ones. And there will be those who live day-to-day, eating as they earn, who face real and present suffering.
He also implored Nigerians to listen and follow public announcements via the mass media for instructions as to how to receive this government support – and learn of more public assistance in the coming days.
“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, or accepting the restrictions even when they come with unintended consequences.
He added that the government owes Nigerians the truth and it does not expect other countries to come to her aid to help defeat the virus.
“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, together.”
As of Saturday, Nigeria has 305 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a deadly respiratory disease, which has killed thousands globally.