By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Federal Government on Tuesday said only President Muhammadu Buhari can decide if the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, over Coronavirus will be extended or not.
Buhari had a week ago ordered total lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and FCT for 14 days to checkmate the spread of Coronavirus.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who spoke in Marina, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, said only the president had the power to grant extension or not, but noted that Buhari did said the lockdown would be for 14 days in the first instance.
He said the presidential taskforce had come to Lagos for a revaluation and report back to the president, adding that Buhari lockdown Lagos, Ogun and FCT based on advice from the Minister of Health.
“It is only Buhari who can say that the lockdown will be extended or not. He did say during his address that Lagos, Ogun and FCT would be shutdown for 14 days in the first instance,” he said.
According to him, if the objectives of the lockdown had been achieved, the presidential taskforce would report back to Buhari for him to take the necessary action whether to extend the lockdown or not, saying that would be done before the week ran out.
Earlier, Mustapha in a briefing, said the taskforce was in Lagos to inspect facilities put in place by the government for the control of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
He assured all Nigerians of the unwavering commitment of Buhari to this war against COVID-19 and his readiness to mobilize resources to achieve national objectives.
He stated that it was not the desire of government to punish its citizen by restricting their movement, but rather out of the abundance of caution, that difficult decision was taken to save lives by preventing spread.
“Reports have been received on the general level of satisfactory compliance in Lagos with the lockdown order and we have similarly received reports of violations. In this case, I commend the instant action taken by the Lagos State Government by prosecuting and convicting notable violators, which shows that nobody should be above the law.
“In recognition of the impact of the lockdown order on the poor, physically challenged, the elderly and the vulnerable, Mr. President approved the release of 70,000 metric tons of grains from the strategic grains reserve. Out of this, about 6,800 will be distributed in Lagos, Ogun and FCT while the rest will be distributed to the 13 frontline states that have recorded cases of the COVID-19 disease. I assure you that the distribution of the Lagos state share will commence shortly.
“Mr. President has similarly approved the payment of 2 months Conditional Cash Transfer to 2.6 million poor and vulnerable already registered in the social safety net program. On behalf of Mr. President, I wish to commend the government of Lagos State magnificently controlling the pandemic and for putting in place isolation centers, ICU facilities as well as establishing a wide network of contact tracing,” he said.
Mustapha emphasised that the nation was at war with an unseen but very potent enemy and that to successfully prosecute this war, “we must own it, we must participate in it, we must create awareness, we must obey rules and regulations, we must stay at home when ordered and we must not conceal any information from the medical and disease control authorities.
“One person who is infected in a community can endanger the entire community regardless of its size and status or position of the people living there. Coronavirus is real and dangerous. Let me appeal to Lagosians, indeed, all Nigerians to play our roles in defeating Coronavirus.
“To win the war, we must abide by instructions to stay-at-home, maintain social distancing, personal hygiene and report all suspected cases to the designated health authorities.”