President Muhammadu Buhari may have effectively extended the 14-day lockdown imposed on Lagos, Abuja and Ogun indefinitely as he has said it will last as long as scientific advisers deem it necessary to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The lockdown was due to have ended late on Sunday night, though it has widely been assumed that it will be extended because the number of covid-19 cases has continued to grow with more states now affected.
Senior special assistant to the president on media, Mr. Garba Shehu, in a statement on Saturday quoted the president as urging Nigerians to continue listening medical experts and follow the guidelines laid out by the government.
“The freedoms we ask you to willingly forsake today will only last as long as our scientific advisers declare they are necessary. But they are essential – world over – to halt and defeat the spread of this virus”, Buhari said to Nigerians.
President Buhari, Shehu said, wholeheartedly thanks all Nigerians for their patience, resolve and strong determination to defeat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The president said, “There will be sons and daughters unable to visit their parents, and elders that are isolated from young ones. And there will be those who live day-to-day, eating as they earn, who face real and present suffering. No elected government could ask more of the citizens of the country that elected them than today we ask of you.
“But we must ask you once more to observe restrictions on movement where they are in place, and follow the instructions of our scientists and medical advisers: stay home, wash your hands, save lives.”
Buhari further stated, “We ask you to listen and follow public announcements via the mass media for instructions as to how to receive this government support and learn of more public assistance in the coming days. All that the Government is asking you to endure is because nowhere in the world today is there any known way of defeating this pandemic.
“There is no vaccine. And that means there are choices to be made: between continuing as usual, or accepting the restrictions even when they come with unintended consequences. But at this darkest hour, it remains our duty to offer you the full and unvarnished truth: This is a global pandemic. 210 countries and territories across the globe are affected. We cannot expect others to come to our assistance. No one is coming to defeat this virus for us.”
The president said the defeat of the virus in our country would be in our hands alone and that we cannnot wait for others.
“We can only depend on ourselves now. And so we must – and we will – end this outbreak ourselves as Nigerians, together,” he added.