Buhari Orders Total Lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun for 2 Weeks

By Dipo Olowookere

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday directed a total lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State as part of moves to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

Mr Buhari, during his nationwide broadcast this evening, stated that only those offering essential services would be allowed to move about in the affected places.

According to him, this restriction of movement will become effective from 11pm of Monday, March 30, 2020.

He said those not affected by this directive are health workers, print and broadcast media personnel, security operatives and drivers conveying petroleum products, who must be screened and given the authority to move around.

“Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.

“All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.

“The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed,” the President said.

Explaining the reason for this directive, Mr Buhari said, “We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.”

He further said, “This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.

“Furthermore, commercial establishments such as;
a. food processing, distribution and retail companies;
b. petroleum distribution and retail entities,
c. power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and
d. private security companies are also exempted.

“Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

“Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

“All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.

“Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.

“Accordingly, the Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.

“Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

“We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France and Spain.”

Mr Buhari, who spoke in his first address to the nation since the first case of the virus was reported in Nigeria on February 27, 2020, said his administration will continue to make efforts to safeguard the lives of the citizens.

As at today, Nigeria has recorded 97 confirmed cases of the virus, with a single death and three recoveries, including the index case, an Italian.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

more recommended stories