Buhari Extends Partial Lockdown, Domestic Flights, Interstate Movement Allowed
NEWSMAN, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday extended Phase Two of the ongoing partial lockdown by four weeks. In the new guidelines, the current nationwide curfew will remain between 10pm and 4am. The ban on mass gathering remains and compulsory wearing of facemask in public places will remain in place.
Domestic operations in the aviation sector is allowed in the new phase and interstate movement is allowed only outside curfew times. Students writing their final year examinations will be allowed to resume school, Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha announced this on Monday at the resumed briefing of the PTF.
The new guidelines will take effect from July 1, PTF officials announced.
The review followed the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to President Muhmmadu Buhari which was approved by the Nigerian leader to safeguard the widespread of the pandemic across the country.
Buhari on Monday had received officials of the PTF led by Mustapha which includes the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and PTF National Coordinator/Director General of NACA, Dr. Sani Aliyu.
Presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad on Twitter said President Buhari was expected to make the announcement.
Mustapha had recently warned that Nigerians were “romancing Covid-19” and not taking the virus seriously hence the increased infections and death especially among those with underlying medical conditions such as the elderly, a NEWSMAN investigation revealed.
“We are at an advanced stage of Covid-19 infection”, Mustapha said on Monday after meeting with President Buhari.
The PTF leader had previously said that the country may impose a second total lockdown if Nigerians continued with their careless attitudes towards the pandemic.
“People with underlying medical conditions otherwise known as comorbidities & the elderly are more vulnerable to #COVID19. Our strategy is to support states with contact-tracing, testing, isolation & management of cases”, Risk Communication Officer, Dr. Hannatu Bello said on radio in Abuja on Monday.
– Nigerians want restrictions lifted –
Many Nigerians are asking Federal authorities to lift the current restrictions and allow the economy to bounce back instead of the partial lockdown that is widely ineffective and violated by majority of citizens.
Some clerics including church leaders like Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of the Living Faith Church are agitating for the reopening of churches saying the continued closure of worship centres was now an “anti-church virus”.
“As a prophet of God, I said … what they call the coronavirus has suddenly become anti-church virus. Clean and clear”, the vocal Oyedepo said on Sunday.
The cleric said current restrictions have failed woefully.
“The market place is rocking. We have videos and I will show you. People are running over themselves. Social distance zero. Hand washing zero. And yet, Nigeria coronavirus never goes to the market. It only goes to church”, Oyedepo said.
But many Nigerians have hit back at the clergymen, accusing him of putting offerings and tithes ahead of the wellbeing of his congregation and citizens.
One citizen said the major concern of Nigerian clerics like Oyedepo should be about the future of poor children who have been out of school for four months and not the reopening of worship centres.
“We should be more concerned about the schools, the future of poor children, the businesses of people and not churches and mosques, anybody can worship from home but not everybody can study from home, the virtual learning won’t work for all, not everybody can make money from home!”, Twitter user, @LayonBounty also tweeted.
President Buhari had analysed and synthesised the views of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 including that of scientists, relevant groups and eminent citizens across Nigeria before making the final decision and giving the PTF the go ahead to continue with the lockdown for another four weeks but with the easing of ban on domestic aviation and interstate movement.