Nigeria: Why Buhari Extended Movement Restriction Across Nigeria By Two Weeks - PTF

Secretary to the Nigerian Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

President Muhammadu Buhari approved two weeks extension of the ongoing movement restrictions across Nigeria because the country is "not yet ready for full opening of the economy," an official said.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made this known, on Monday, at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The extension of the ongoing restriction will be effective from 12 midnight today (May 18) to June 1.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the reality is that in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority," Mr Mustapha said.

"Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace.

"Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.

"Based on the recommendations of the PTF, Mr President has approved the following:

"The measures, exemptions, advisories and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12 00 midnight today (18th May 2020 to 1st June 2020)," Mr Mustapha said.

President Buhari had on April 27 announced the gradual easing of a five-week lockdown in FCT, Lagos and Ogun state. The lockdown was eased to a nationwide night curfew (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) from May 4 to May 17.

Based on Mr Mustapha's announcement, that nationwide curfew and a ban on interstate travel will continue from tonight for another two weeks.

Other Reasons

Mr Mustapha, who is also the Chairman of the PTF, said the two-week extension will enable other segments of the economy to prepare to reopen in the coming weeks.

The two weeks extension of phase one of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.

"For the PTF, we share your pains but our future is in the hands of every Nigerian and future decisions will depend greatly on our compliance, " he said.

He also said the period will be utilised to intensify efforts to trace and treat COVID-19 cases.

"Elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions," he said.

Imposition of lockdown

He said lockdown will be imposed on some states and local government areas if the need arises.

He, however, said this would be complemented with provision of palliatives.

"Imposition of precision lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises.

"This would be complemented with the provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of the impact of the interventions. Aggressive scale-up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high-risk states," he said.

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