Nigeria: Coronavirus - Ogun Governor Postpones Lockdown After Buhari's Order

The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Monday said the state was not fully prepared for the lockdown ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The lockdown, in the state, Lagos and the FCT is to take effect from Monday midnight as directed by the Federal Government but Mr Abiodun has now shifted it till Friday citing 'permission' from the president.

Mr Abiodun said this on Monday when he unveiled three isolation centres established in Ikenne, Sagamu and Abeokuta. He explained that he had secured a 'waiver' from the Presidency.

He explained that the shift of the date was to create ample time for residents of the state to stock food and other daily needs before the lockdown could take effect.

"After consultation with the Presidency, the interstate and international borders will close tonight at 11 p.m. as directed by the President.

'However, the total lockdown of the state will be effective from 11 p.m. on Friday, 3rd April, 2020.This is to enable us finalise the mechanisms for the distribution of relief materials and food items ahead of the total lockdown," Mr Abiodun explained.

"Our Government is conscious of the implications and discomfort associated with these measures. Nonetheless, we are constrained to do this because the available options are limited. Not taking these measures would have dire consequences.

"Coronavirus has upturned people's lives and destinies and we have to fight with everything that we have, including stepping down our individual preferences and freedoms. These restrictions will be kept under constant review.

"We will relax them if the evidence makes it compelling. The restrictions are without prejudice to the need for people to reasonably move within their neighbourhoods to buy essentials such as food, drugs and access healthcare, as contained in Regulation 8 of Ogun State Corona Virus Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020."

Strategies

"Let me now unveil new strategies to further flatten the curve of the spread, isolate and treat any positive case, and provide relief and succour to our people, in this trying time. Arrangements are at an advanced stage to establish our own biomedical laboratory so that we can test suspected cases in the state without going to Lagos or Abuja," the governor said.

"This laboratory which will be in place by this weekend will minimise the test turn-around time which currently is between 3-5 days and fast-track the treatment of positive cases. It will also reduce period of apprehension and anxiety for those suspected of infection and their relations.

"To cushion the effect of the lockdown on our citizens, when finally ordered, food items and other palliatives will be provided in the next few days. The government is working out the modalities and engaging relevant stakeholders to particularly identify the poor and vulnerable groups and to ensure that the palliative and relief items reach the intended beneficiaries at the grassroots level.

"During the period of this lockdown, all markets, motor parks, public squares and high human-traffic areas will be fumigated and disinfected. To support the new facilities unveiled today, the state has procured five (5) ambulances," Mr Abiodun said.

He also said public servants in Ogun State should work from home, except those on essential services.

"The government hereby appeals to all retired health workers, those in the private sector and volunteers to come forward and make their services available to complement the efforts of our core medical and paramedical personnel. We appeal to our people to abide by these government orders, and the advisories provided by the ministry of health on hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and social distancing."

Health status

The governor also disclosed his health status as regards coronavirus.

He said after his return from London and a meeting he had with the Governors Forum, he went into self-isolation and followed up with medical examination which turned out negative

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Sunday ordered residents of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to stay indoors for two weeks effective from Monday, in view of the ravaging coronavirus across the world, with Nigeria now having 131 confirmed cases and two deaths.

Mr Buhari gave the order in his broadcast speech to the nation, adding that the decision was based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Lagos and Abuja were selected because they have the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, while Ogun was selected because of its proximity to Lagos.

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