By TOM CHIAHEMEN, Abuja –
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.
According to Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, 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.
In his nationwide broadcast on Sunday, President Buhari had, among other pronouncements, requested all State Governments, through the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), to nominate Doctors and Nurses who will be trained by the NCDC and Lagos State Government on tactical and operational response to the virus in case it spreads to other states. Training will also include medical representatives from the armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.
He also announced:
* Cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States. All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.
* Government to use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.
* Those exempted from curfew include hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution. Others are commercial establishments such as: (a) food processing, distribution and retail companies; (b) Petroleum distribution and retail entities, (c). Power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and; (d) Private security companies are also exempted. The rest are workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home.
* All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.
* All vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.
* Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.
* Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.
* Relief materials to be deployed in the coming weeks to ease the pains of residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures.
* Although schools are closed. Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with State Governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during this period without compromising our social distancing policies. The Minister will be contacting the affected States and agree on detailed next steps.
* A three-month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect. A similar moratorium to be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.
* For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, development financial institutions directed to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.
* For the most vulnerable in the society, the conditional cash transfers for the next two months are to be paid immediately, while Internally displaced persons (IDPs) will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.
* All Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrims camps and other facilities are to be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.
* All contributions and donations are to be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending. The Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.