Indefinite lockdown? What Buhari said about lockdown extension


As the two-weeks presidential lockdown order comes to an end and the coronavirus continues to spread to more states in the country, Nigerians are yet to know if the lockdown will be extended or not. on Sunday reported that according to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, the virus has so far spread to 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, with a total number of 323 confirmed cases. 85 have been discharged with 10 deaths recorded.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Saturday issued a statement to the public through its Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu,  which has left many Nigerians wondering if the lockdown on Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states has now become indefinite as the president was not specific but rather said the lockdown will last as long as necessary if advised by experts.

The president in the statement stated that (i) Nigerians must continue to observe restrictions on movement where they are in place for as long as “our scientific advisers declare they are necessary”,

(ii) Government has made “multiple” arrangements to assist the most vulnerable amongst the citizenry with, for instance, the distribution of 70, 000 tonnes of grain which is to be released “from the National Strategic Grain Reserve” and the distribution of small cash payments, and

(iii) That since there is no known cure yet for the disease, Nigeria shall not wait for help from elsewhere but end this “outbreak ourselves as Nigerians together”.

Read full statement below:

I wholeheartedly thank all Nigerians for your patience, resolve and strong determination to defeat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

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.

No elected government could ask more of the citizens of the country that elected them than what we today ask of you. 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 freedoms 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.

For those who suffer most egregiously, the Government has announced multiple measures to assist: 70,000 tonnes of grain is 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.

We ask you 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.

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, together

Muhammadu Buhari

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

April 11, 2020

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