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Abuja, Lagos, Ogun roads, streets deserted as COVID-19 movement restriction begin

COVID-19 confirmed cases now 131

Roads and streets in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, its commercial capital Lagos and its neighbouring State, Ogun, are deserted as the Nigerian military began implementing the restriction on movement order given by President Muhammadu Buhari during his Sunday night broadcast on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

President Buhari had said that effective 11pm Monday night, the federal government would implement a 14-day curfew of Lagos and Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory as a way of containing the spread of the virus.

All the expressways, highways, major streets and roads were all deserted as the citizens stayed indoors. A drive around Lagos, Ogun and the FCT shows that only vehicles belong to the Nigerian Army, Police and other security agencies were seen plying the roads.

This is just as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced the largest single day increase of 20 new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), thus bringing the total number in the country to 131.

According to the statisitcs released by NCDC, the 20 new cases were recorded in three States, Lagos (13), Kaduna (two) and Oyo (one), and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), four.

The lone new case in Oyo State is believed to be Governor Seyi Makinde who on Monday confirmed that he tested positive for the virus.

So, altogether, Lagos has 81, Abuja – 25, Ogun – Three, Ekiti – One, Oyo – Eight, Osun – Two, Enugu – Two, Edo – Two, Bauchi – Two, Kaduna three, while Benue, Rivers have one case each.

Effectively, citizens in the two States and the FCT are staying in their homes as all businesses and offices within these locations, even the neighbourhood markets and shopping centres are closed.

The combined forces of the Army, Navy and Air Force were seen coordinating the lockdown in the affected areas as a security cordon has been thrown into them to ensure full implementation of the stay at home order.  

And to give legal backing to the restriction on movements and other measures being adopted, President Buhari on Monday evening signed the signed the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020.

According to the statement by Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Femi Adesina, “in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf, President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, signed the Covid-19 Regulations, 2020, which  declared Covid-19 a dangerous infectious disease.

“The Regulations, effective March 30, 2020, also gave legal backing to the various measures outlined in the President’s National Broadcast on March 29, 2020, such as Restriction/Cessation of Movement in Lagos, FCT and Ogun State and others toward containing the spread of the pandemic in the country.

“In addition, to ensure that Nigerians can still perform on-line transactions and use ATMs whilst observing these restrictions, exemption is granted financial system and money markets to allow very skeletal operations in order to keep the system in light operations during the pendency of these regulations.”

Meanwhile, Coordinator of Defence Media Operations (CDMO), Major General John Enenche, had on Monday in Abuja said that that apart from the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, alongside Ogun State, all other inter-State and inter-city movements are to be restricted to prevent further spread.

General Enenche said that in carrying out this national duty, “the High Command of Nigerian Military hereby solicit for the support of the general public in this trying period of the fight against COVID 19. This can be achieved by adhering to all the medical and administrative guidelines being provided by government at all levels.”

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