Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised not to restrict access to food and medications but urged Nigerians to adhere to instructions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari commended the unity of purpose in fighting the spread of COVID-19 in the country, particularly the willingness for self-isolation, social distancing, and contributions of public-spirited individuals and institutions who consistently mobilize resources to supplement efforts of Federal and State governments.
The President also extolled state governments, religious bodies, health workers, Federal Government agencies, including security outfits, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) for rising to the occasion to protect the country and its citizens, assuring that the government will remain steadfast in deploying more resources to lessen the burden of the pandemic.
Shehu said Buhari while calling for more compliance with regulations and restrictions on movement and gatherings for the safety of all citizens, reassures that government directives will not affect production and distribution of food, medications, medical equipment and other essentials as the nation wades through the global health challenge, which already portends dire economic strains.
The President directed all relevant agencies and regulators to provide an enabling environment for industries to sustain their operations by ensuring reasonable access to industrial supplies and inputs like water, fuel, gas and essential infrastructure and relaxing of stringent laws while commending the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks for the interventions to make forex and credit more accessible to those on the manufacturing line.
In giving assurances of firm support for the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria by proactively addressing the potential impact of the pandemic on the Nigerian economy, the President requests that all necessary measures be put in place to protect and promote the health and safety of industrial workers.
President Buhari called on all leaders across the country, including religious and traditional leaders, to further support the Federal and State governments in the ongoing sensitization programmes on the need to stay at home and keep a safe distance in the public, and to dissuade citizens from panic buying and rumour-mongering.
Buhari affirmed that the collective effort of all Nigerians will make a historic difference in checking the spread of COVID-19, rehabilitating those already affected and keeping citizens alive.