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Apply restraint in enforcing lockdown, Buhari tell security agencies

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday urged all the nation’s security agencies deployed to enforce the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States, and other parts of the country, to apply all the necessary restraints in the discharge of their duties.

The President’s appeal follows reports of alleged high handedness, use of force and killing of citizens in different parts of the country by security agents.

President Buhari had, on March 29, ordered a 14-day lockdown in the two States and the FCT in order to halt and tackle the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. Most States of the federation immediately followed suit.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, told journalists in Abuja , the President’s directive is that security agencies should enforce the lockdown order with discretion but Nigerians should be law-abiding.

According to him, “the PTF (Presidential Task Force) finds it very necessary to appeal to our law enforcement agencies to deploy tact and caution in the course of enforcing the rules even in the face of provocation. We similarly appeal to all Nigerians to be law-abiding, exercise patience and self-restraint. The message from Mr President is that no Nigerian should, on account of these rules, suffer any harm or pains during this period or any other time in our national life. To the Nigerian traders and businessmen and women, we appeal for resistance to the urge to hike prices of goods and commodities during this period as our compassionate nature must prevail.”

Mustapha stated that it was the best time for citizens to be considerate and to show empathy for their fellow countrymen.

The prevailing situation, he said, is a threat to not just the human race but a particular threat to the Nigerian economy and national security, hence the need for all citizens to play their part by remaining and being understanding with government in all steps being taken and obeying all instructions.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said the Federal Government had ramped up its synergy with the State governments through video conferencing communication and the platform of the Governors Forum.

According to him, the role of the non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations in the battle against COVID-19 is well acknowledged and recognised.

He urged them to deploy their resources, especially community-based manpower, to shore up the arrangements by the sub-national entities, mainly the states.

Said the federal government scribe, “I am pleased to inform Nigerians that we made progress in the mobilisation of resources to reinforce our preparedness and implementation arrangements. In recognition of the danger to which our frontline health workers are exposed to, government is working with other stakeholders to structure medical and life insurance cover for their protection. I, therefore, wish to assure them of our commitment and urge them to put in their utmost best as they battle to save us from this ravaging virus.”

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