President Muhammadu Buhari will this weekend determine whether or not to extend the 14-day lockdown he imposed last week on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, has said.
Mustapha, who also chairs the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, told reporters in Lagos yesterday that the president would make the decision based on an evaluation to be carried out by the presidential taskforce.
The president, in a national broadcast last week, had ordered the restriction of movements in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States to curb the spread of COVID-19, which as at the last tally released yesterday by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has infected 254 people.
However, eight more people were discharged yesterday, one in Lagos, and seven in FCT, bringing the count to 44 while six are reported dead.
Among the dead is a doctor who was confirmed dead in Katsina due to complications arising from the virus.
Also yesterday, the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), being driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some key stakeholders, solicited financial support from 146 companies and individuals to curb the virus.
The SGF, who was at the head of the Presidential Task Force team’s visit to Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria lauded the efforts of the Lagos State Government towards curtailing the virus, assuring the people that Nigeria is on course to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Mustapha said the taskforce would do an evaluation of its objectives on the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria, this weekend and this would guide the president to determine whether or not to extend the lockdown.
According to him, the team has outlined its objectives and goals and within the next few days, it will determine if it has met them or not.
He added that this will be relayed to the president who would direct on the next step.
He said: “President Buhari alone will make the decision as to whether the lockdown will stop on its expiration at the 14th day or whether to extend it.
“The president would have to review the recommendations of the team set up to monitor the various measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus and cushion its effects on the people.
“We are looking at the objectives that were set when the lockdown or the quarantine declaration was signed by the president and subsequently by several other states.
“Before the end of the week, we will do an evaluation and part of the trip here was to do an evaluation to see how the objectives that were set were being met and at the end of that exercise, we would have the responsibility of reporting to Mr. President.”
Mustapha said the president had in his broadcast explained how he arrived at the decision to impose the lockdown on the two states and the FCT.
He stated that Buhari took the decision on the advice of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and this subsequently led to the signing of the Quarantine Declaration 2020.
Mustapha said Nigeria was at war with an invisible enemy, noting that the enemy could only be defeated if Nigerians stay at home, observe social distancing and report themselves to the health authorities if they present symptoms of COVID-19.
“One person who is infected in one community can infect everyone in that community. This is why we must eliminate the virus from our country so we can all stay safe. COVID-19 is a dangerous sickness, we must abide by the instructions to stay at home and report all suspected cases,” he added.
The SGF explained that members of the taskforce were in Lagos to inspect the isolation centres in the state as part of the responsibilities of the team.