Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the current phase of eased movement restrictions for another two weeks.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure at Monday’s daily media briefing.
According to him, the extension will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.
Measures put in place in the first phase yielded sufficient progress that requiresconsolidation to ensure that the health system and economy are in a position to adequately respond to any potential outcomes in the future – including a secondary outbreak, Mr Mustapha explained.
The statement reads:
‘The two weeks extension of phase one of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy to 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.
‘Based on the recommendations of the PTF, Mr President has approved the following:
i) 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);
ii) intensifying efforts to “tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)’ cases;
iii) elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions;
iv) Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks;
v) 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; and
vi) 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.
29. Specific implementation guidelines would be communicated by the National Coordinator during this press briefing and would be circulated through conventional and social media.
30. For the sustainability of the gains recorded, the PTF shall continue to support states by developing guidelines to shape decision-making for future steps in the response and aggressively scale up efforts to ensure effective community information.
32. It is believed that these steps will help consolidate the gains made so far and position the country to effectively overcome the pandemic.
33. In the interest of our nation, the role of the States and Local Governments remain critical to success. The PTF shall engage with the States on the effective implementation of these guidelines. This morning, I participated in a virtual conference between the President and the Nigeria Governors Forum and the subject of collaboration was robustly discussed.
34. As contained in the address of Mr President on 27th April, 202, State Governors are reminded to align their state-specific measures with the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force.
‘The level of compliance has been reviewed and a specific directive has been issued to the security agencies to carry out strict enforcement of all measures. These include the nationwide curfew from 8.00 pm to 6.00 pm; the ban on interstate travels and the wearing of facemasks/coverings in public.
‘The security agents are however urged to be mindful of the human rights of citizens, while citizens are equally urged to recognize the dangers posed to self, their loved ones and the entire community if they fail to take responsibility.
‘Let me state categorically, that the exemptions allowed under phase one are still in place. Particularly, the Government remains conscious of the fact that we are in the rainy season and farming activities is critical to food and national security. It should, therefore, not be hindered.
‘We wish to appeal to all Nigerians to show understanding, demonstrate patriotism and take responsibility. Humanity is in great peril and we are all in danger. Most importantly, we repeat our call on all Nigerians to please STAY HOME and STAY SAFE.’