‘This Is Not A Joke’, Buhari Explains ‘Difficult Decision’ To Extend COVID-19 Lockdown

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday explained the rationale behind the decision to extend the lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He gave the explanation during his nationwide broadcast shortly after he announced that the restriction of movement has been extended by another two weeks.

“This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have been closed,” the President said.

He added, “The Pope celebrated Mass on an empty St. Peter’s Square. The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris held Easter Mass with less than 10 people.

“India, Italy, and France are in complete lockdown. Other countries are in the process of following suit. We cannot be lax.”

 

A Difficult Decision

According to the President, the cessation of movement, physical distancing measures and the prohibition of mass gatherings remain the most efficient ways of curbing the spread of the disease.

He stressed that by sustaining these measures, in addition to extensive testing and contact tracing, Nigeria can take control and limit the spread of COVID-19.

President Buhari explained that his administration’s approach to coronavirus has remained in two steps.

They include to protect the lives of the citizens and residents in the country and to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners.

The President stressed that considering this, and after a careful review of the briefings and report from the Presidential Task Force, it became necessary to extend the lockdown in the two states and the FCT.

He said the extension would be effective from 11:59 pm on Monday and urged Nigerians to cooperate with the government in the fight against the virus.

President Buhari acknowledged that it was a difficult decision to take but was convinced that it was the right decision

According to him, the repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable but Nigerians must not lose the gains achieved thus far or allow a rapid increase in community transmission.

 

Akinola Ajibola

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