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COVID-19 Lockdown: Be steadfast in patience, Buhari begs Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday urged Nigerians to comply with the restriction of movement directives in order to defeat the rampaging Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Promising more interventions for vulnerable citizens, President Buhari said in a statement by Presidential Spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, that he appreciates all Nigerians for their patience, resolve and strong determination to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President had on March 29, ordered a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for an initial period of 14 days. Similarly, other States put in place their own restrictions.

He regretted that with the lockdown in place, there would be sons and daughters unable to visit their parents, elders that were isolated from young ones, and those who lived day-to-day, eating as they earned, who faced “real and present suffering.”

The statement noted that no elected government could ask more of the citizens that elected it than the Buhari regime is asking of Nigerians.

According to the statement, “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. 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.

“For those who suffer most egregiously, the Government has announced multiple measures to assist: 70,000 tonnes of grain is being released from the National Strategic Grain Reserves for distribution to those in most need; distribution of small cash payments are also being made, and will continue to be made by the federal government in the states and local government areas.”

President Buhari appealed to members of the public to listen to and follow public announcements via the mass media for instructions as to how to receive 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. Instead, the defeat of the virus in our country will be in our hands, alone. We cannot 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.

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