President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said the federal government will provide relief materials for residents of Lagos and Abuja whom he ordered to stay-at-home as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The president ordered a 14-day lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja from Monday in his first address to Nigerians on the pandemic.
"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 11 p.m. 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," the president said.
Lagos and Abuja are the hardest-hit with 59 and 16 confirmed cases of the virus which started spreading across Nigeria since February 18.
Mr Buhari said the relief materials would be deployed to the affected states in the coming weeks though he did not mention the type.
"For residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks", he said.
As the human and economic toll of the lockdown against the coronavirus mounts on millions of Nigerians, many, including a former vice president , Atiku Abubakar, have been calling on the Nigerian government to provide palliatives for citizens.
"At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, the government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for foodstuff to each household, among other palliative measures, with no one left behind", Mr Abubakar, an opposition leader whose son Mohammed, recently tested positive for Covid19, wrote on Facebook.
Almost immediately, the call received support from many Nigerians urging the government to emulate western countries that have launched similar measures.
In the U.S., the Senate finalised on Tuesday a $2.2 trillion economic stabilisation plan to help workers and businesses in the country as coronavirus bites harder.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled an $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses, including direct income support.
The Nigerian government had last Wednesday announced the reduction of the pump price of petrol to N125.
Nigeria now has 97 cases of the disease while one person has died
According to the latest breakdown by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Lagos State leads with 59 cases, followed by 16 in Abuja, Ogun - 3, Oyo - 7, Edo - 2, Bauchi - 2, Enugu - 2, Osun - 2 while Ekiti, Kaduna, Rivers and Benue states have one case of the infection each.