The President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday ordered lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states to check the spread of COVID-19.
Buhari, in a nationwide broadcast, said the lockdown, which would begin at 11pm on Monday, would be for an initial period of 14 days.
He said during the lockdown residents of the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states should stay at home.
The President said this just as COVID-19 cases in the country increased to 111 on Sunday and more prominent Nigerians tested positive for the disease.
Among those who tested positive were the Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo; the Provost of the College of Medicine, Ibadan, Ezekiel Olapade-Olaopa and the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede.
Also tested positive was the Deputy Provost of the College of Medicine, Ibadan, Obafunke Denloye.
Since Nigeria recorded its first coronavirus case on February 27, the number of people infected by the disease has been on the increase.
Prominent Nigerians that have been diagnosed with COVID-19 include the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, and his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai.
As of Sunday night, no fewer than 111 people have been infected with the virus with 68 in Lagos State; the FCT, 21; Oyo State; seven, and Ogun State; three. Enugu, Edo, Bauchi, and Osun states have two cases each, while Ekiti, Rivers, Benue and Kaduna states have one case each.
NCDC confirms 14 new cases, Nigeria now has 111
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control at 9:30pm Sunday confirmed 14 new infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 111.
The NCDC via its Twitter handle said, “Fourteen new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; nine in Lagos and five in FCT. As at 09:30 pm 29th March, there are 111 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria with 1 death.”
Buhari, a month after the country recorded the first COVID-19 case, spoke on the pandemic on Sunday.
The President said the majority of the cases in the country were concentrated in Lagos and the FCT or came from persons who passed through the two cities.
In the case of Ogun, he said its proximity to Lagos, necessitated that it should also be locked down to control movements.
He explained that the decision was taken based on the advice of the Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, to enable the government to effectively contain further spread of the infection.
The President stated, “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 11pm 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.
President orders closure of businesses, offices in Ogun, Lagos, FCT
“All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.
“The governors of Lagos and Ogun states as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.
“We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other states.”
During the period, he said all flights remained suspended, while any form of inter-state vehicular or seaport movements for the purpose of conveying foodstuffs and medical supplies would be done in strict compliance to safety regulations.
Workers of hospitals, electronic, print media, petroleum distribution, telecoms exempted
However, Buhari mentioned services that would not be affected by the lockdown, saying that among them were “hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organisations in healthcare-related manufacturing and distribution.”
He added that food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities; power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies were also exempted.
The President gave further implications of the new development, “Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.
“All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.
“Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.
“Accordingly, the minister of health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.
“Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a need basis.”
The President, who admitted that the measures would cause pain to the citizenry, noted that they were necessary to stop Nigeria from going the way of Italy, Spain and France that recorded heavy COVID -19 casualties.
He promised to announce relief measures for the satellite town residents of Lagos and Abuja, who would be most affected by the measures, in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, Buhari disclosed that a strategy was being worked out in conjunction with the state governments to sustain the school feeding programme, in spite of the fact that schools were already closed.
He spoke on other palliatives, saying, “Furthermore, I have directed that a three-month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.
“I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export and Import Bank.
“For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.
“For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.”
While the measures took full effect, the President urged Nigerians to sustain all safety regulations already put in place by the NDDC, especially social distancing, banning of large gatherings, use of sanitisers and wearing of face masks.
Buhari had come under pressure from Nigerians to address the nation, like other world leaders did in their countries, as the COVID -19 casualty figures steadily climbed to 111.
UCH CMD, college of medicine provost, deputy test positive
In Oyo State, the UCH CMD, Otagbayo, disclosed his status in a statement he personally signed. He stated, “On Monday, March 23, we commenced a 12-man quarterly board meeting, which was meant to last five days in the hospital. We observed social distancing and other precautionary measures for COVID-19 as much as possible.
“However, on Wednesday morning, one of us presented with what appeared to be symptoms of COVID-19; his samples were immediately taken for test and the meeting called off.
“His result returned positive on Friday morning and every participant, including me, immediately went into self-isolation while our samples were also taken for test.
“Unfortunately, my result returned positive on Saturday afternoon and I remain in isolation as I am not symptomatic. All staff members who have been in contact with me and other participants during this period have been advised to immediately proceed on self-isolation pending the time they get tested.
“COVID-19 is spreading faster than we think and I enjoin everyone to take precautions. If one person has it, then a gathering of two becomes dangerous. Stay at home, avoid unnecessary outing and stay safe.”
The Provost of the College of Medicine Ibadan, Olapade-Olaopa, in a Whatsapp group message on Sunday morning, said, “Dear colleagues, I wish to inform you that the deputy provost and I tested positive for the COVID-19 following the tests done on Friday.”
NIS CG tests positive
In a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Sunday James, the NIS said the comptroller-general, Babandede, tested positive for coronavirus.
James stated the CG said he went into self-isolation after his return from the United Kingdom.
He explained that Babandede adhered to the regulations of the NCDC for self-isolation and testing.
The statement was titled, “The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede health status with regard to Coronavirus and his self-isolation since he returned from the UK.”
It said, “As a top official of government he has adhered to the NCDC instructions to self-isolate and undergo test. The result of the test came out positive, hence the need to make it public. He conveys his goodwill to all and he is in stable condition responding to treatment.”
Fayemi shuts down Ekiti for two weeks, orders dust to dawn curfew
In Ekiti State, Governor Kayode Fayemi on Sunday announced a 14-day total shutdown and imposed 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew on the state.
Fayemi said, “Effective from 11:59pm on Monday, March 30, 2020 until 11:59pm on Monday, April 13, 2020, there shall be restriction of movement across the length and breadth of Ekiti State, with all our borders closed.
“That is a full and total shutdown of Ekiti State and a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew in Ekiti State from 7:00pm – 7:00 am. All Ekiti residents are hereby directed to stay-at-home.”
Dangote tests negative, to build 600- bed isolation centre in Kano
The President/Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, announced on Sunday that he tested negative for coronavirus.
Dangote, who disclosed this on twitter, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly disrupted modern society, affecting “our collective health and well-being.”
He said, “As a global citizen and business leader, I took the COVID-19 test and the result came back negative.”
The Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, disclosed this at the inauguration of a 38- member fundraising committee on COVID-19 in the state.
Ganduje said Dangote had asked the state government to provide a facility for him to provide 600 beds and other infrastructure, as his contribution towards the efforts to contain the outbreak of coronavirus in the state.
Avoid physical interviews, NUJ tells journalists
The Nigeria Union of Journalists, Oyo State Council, has warned members to suspend direct or physical interviews to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
This warning was given in a statement jointly signed by the state Chairman of the NUJ, Mr Ademola Babalola, and the Secretary, Mr Sola Oladapo, on Sunday in Ibadan, the state capital.
The statement read that journalists should be cautious in performing their roles in view of the alarming rate of spread of the virus.
In another statement, the NUJ urged the Federal Government to ensure due diligence at the University College Hospital, Ibadan in view of the fact that the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Abiodun Otegbayo; the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan; his deputy; as well as the board chairman, recently tested positive to COVID 19.
It stated that the CMD, despite his knowledge of his exposure to a suspected case, still went ahead granting interviews to journalists without warning them of his vulnerability.
Oyo COVID-19 task force impounds 22 vehicles at club houses
The Oyo State COVID-19 Security and Enforcement sub-committee impounded 22 vehicles during its special night operations.
The operation was aimed at enforcing compliance at club houses and public places in Ibadan, the state capital.
The Executive Chairman, OYRTMA, Dr Akin Fagbemi, while addressing members of the task force before the operation, urged them to be professional in their approach.
Atiku, lauds El-Rufai, Mohammed, Babandede
Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday said contracting coronavirus disease was not a death sentence.
Atiku, in his verified personal twitter handle@atiku, also commended the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed; the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr. Muhammad Babandede, for publicly declaring that
Kyari confirms positive status, goes to Lagos for further tests
After days of speculation, the Chief of Staff to the President, Kyari, on Sunday admitted that he tested positive for coronavirus, according to the twitter handle of the Presidency, @NGRPresident.
In a letter he wrote the public, Kyari said he tested positive last week, but that he was proceeding to Lagos on Sunday (yesterday) for further tests, based on medical advice.
He claimed to feel well as he had yet to experience any of the symptoms associated with coronavirus virus.
Kyari added that he would soon resume work.
Neither of the presidential spokespersons, Mr Femi Adesina and Mr Garba Shehu, have confirmed the letter.
However, it is on the official twitter handle of the Presidency, earlier referred above.
The letter reads in full, “ I am writing to let you know that on medical advice, I will transfer to Lagos later today for additional tests and observation. This is a precautionary measure: I feel well, but last week, I tested positive for coronavirus, the pandemic that is sweeping the world. I have followed all the protocols government has announced to self-isolate and quarantine.
“I have made my own care arrangements to avoid further burdening the public health system, which faces so many pressures. Like many others that will test also positive, I have not experienced high fever or other symptoms associated with this new virus and have been working from home. I hope to be back at my desk very soon.
“I have a team of young, professional, knowledgeable and patriotic colleagues, whose dedication has been beyond the call of duty, who continue to work seven days a week, with no time of the day spared. We will continue to serve the President and people of Nigeria, as we have for the past five years.
“I want to thank all our fantastic, talented and brave healthcare professionals, working across the country in such a difficult time; all the good Samaritans looking out for the most vulnerable in our communities; the key workers that will keep our country going through this; friends and family and often strangers, who have sent me such warm wishes and displayed such a generosity of spirit.
“We should be calm, measured and diligent – be meticulous in your hygiene, especially with cleaning hands, if possible stay at home or keep your distance. Listen to good advice from the proper authorities: pay no heed to quack cures or fake news from social media. President Buhari will do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of our people and get the country back on its feet as soon as possible.
“Like the whole world, we are dealing with a new disease. Our experts are learning more all the time about coronavirus, what it does and how we can combat it. What we do know is that while some may become very sick, many others who contract the virus will not, and may have no symptoms at all. This is a disease that recognises no difference between north and south, men or women, rich or poor. We are all in this together.”
Kyari had tested positive to the virus on Monday last week and went on self-isolation, as he avoided coming to office.
But, he did not make his status official, leaving his condition to conjectures.
His case also forced the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to take his own test, which proved negative.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also took the test and got a negative result.
Ogun restricts movements
In line with presidential directive, the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said, “Movement is restricted within and across our borders with neighbouring states and the international border with the Republic of Benin, effective from 11pm on Monday.”