President Buhari Signs COVID-19 Regulations 2020

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020, which declared COVID-19 a dangerous infectious disease.

This according to Femi Adesina the special adviser to the President, is in line with the exercising of the powers conferred on Buhari by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Confirms 20 New Coronavirus Cases

In his statement on Monday, the presidential spokesman noted that 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.

He added that 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.

COVID-19: Two Islamic Clerics Arraigned In Kaduna For Defying Ban On Large Gatherings

A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria's North-Central region.
A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s North-Central region.

 

The Kaduna State Government has arraigned two Islamic clerics before a Chief Magistrate court sitting in the state capital for defying the ban on large gathering and not complying with the 24-hour curfew imposed across the state.

The two Imam’s and their followers were arrested last week Friday while they were holding congregational service with their members contrary to the existing directive on social distancing in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Confirms 20 New Coronavirus Cases

They were however arraigned on Monday before a Kaduna State Chief Magistrate Court on two counts of criminal conspiracy and disobedience to lawful order as enshrined in sections 59 and 115 of the penal code of Kaduna State.

Due to their unknown status of whether positive or negative to COVID-19, the Chief Magistrate, Ibrahim Musa granted the defendants bail in the sum of N1million each and two sureties in like sum.

He also ruled that the sureties must be related to the defendants, must show evidence of being residents of Kaduna State and also show proof of ownership of land titles.

The court, however, adjourned the case to April 21 and 29 for hearing and ordered that the defendants will remain the custody of the police pending when they fulfill their bail conditions.

‘I Murdered COVID-19,’ Nigerian Lady Shares Survival Story After Testing Positive

 

A recovered COVID-19 patient, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, has shared how she successfully beat the virus and tested positive twice following treatment at Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

In a series of tweets on her handle, she shared her survival story, revealing how the nurses and doctors at the frontline deserve all the praises and accolades.

“Today, I am proud to inform you that I murdered COVID-19 and have tested negative twice. I have been discharged.

“The nurses at IDH (Infectious Disease Hospital) Yaba were fab. They deserve accolades for their hard work.

“Thank you Governor @babajidesanwoolu for coming to see me.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu who was moved by Osowobi’s testimony retweeted her post and congratulated her.

The governor also appreciated the feedback.

“We say ‘Oluwa seun o’ to our creator and thanks to our hardworking health workers.

“We will continue to provide more resources and increase capacity,” Sanwo-Olu tweeted.

Osowobi in her tweets thanked the health team at the Mainland hospital and the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi.

“The food was good,” she said as she shared pictures of food served her during her time at the hospital.

She also appreciated her friends and family for their support, advising young Nigerians to ‘give their lungs a chance’ and live a healthy life.

“To every young person out there, please give your lungs a chance to beat this. Can I encourage you to stop smoking and live a healthy life at this time?

“A healthy lung is key,

“This is another phase of my life and I have won! I celebrate my resilience and strength.

“Call me SURVIVAYO.”

READ ALSO: Gov Seyi Makinde Tests Positive For COVID-19

Osowobi is the Executive Director of a youth-led movement advancing gender equality, Stand To End Rape.

 

COVID-19: Seaports In Lagos To Remain Operational As City Goes On Lock Down

 

All seaports in Lagos are to remain operational even as the metropolis is set to undergo a total lock down following the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.

As part of the Federal Government’s drive to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Buhari had on Sunday instructed that Lagos, Ogun and Abuja be locked down totally for an initial period of fourteen days.

The President, however, noted  in his national broadcast that all seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with stipulated guidelines.

He added that vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from the ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.

READ ALSO: Nominate Doctors, Nurses To Fight COVID-19, Buhari Urges Governors

The President ordered that all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into the cities on lock down, will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter the restricted areas.

In accordance with the directive, President Buhari directed the Hon. Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, 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 restricted zones.

Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, were also suspended, with special permits to be issued on a needs basis.

According to President Buhari, his government is fully aware that the new measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens.

He, however, stressed that this is a matter of life and death, keeping in view, the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France and Spain.

President Buhari urged Nigerians to see this move as a collective national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“I will therefore ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.

“As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19.

“Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results,” President Buhari said.

He promised that residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, shall get relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.

Nominate Doctors, Nurses To Fight COVID-19, Buhari Urges Governors

 

As part of efforts to help stem the tides of the Coronavirus, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked all Nigerian governors to nominate doctors and nurses in their states who will join in the Federal Government’s drive to combat the deadly COVID-19.

President Buhari who disclosed this in a live broadcast on Sunday, March 29, 2020, also said that his government has created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus War: I Am Proud Of Dr Ihekweazu – Buhari

“So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of adhoc staff to man our call centers and support our tracing and testing efforts.

“I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all State Governments 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,” President Buhari disclosed.

He noted that this strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit the nation’s unique local circumstances.

The President further stated that the goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately there is an emergency.

According to President Buhari, this training will also include medical representatives from the armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.

The President stressed that the nation’s response to the virus must be guided, systematic and professional, adding that there is a need for consistency across the nation.

He assured Nigerians that all inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated.

Coronavirus War: I Am Proud Of Dr Ihekweazu, Says Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says he is very proud of the way the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu has handled the war against COVID-19 so far.

The President expressed his gratitude in a broadcast over the Coronavirus pandemic in Abuja on Sunday, March 29.

“Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach.

“I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.

READ ALSO: Hospitals, Medical Establishments And Nine Others Exempted From Total Lock Down

“Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized. We ask all Nigerians to support the work the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC are doing, led by the Presidential Task Force,” the President said.

President Buhari noted that although the nation has adopted strategies used globally, still, the country’s implementation programs have been tailored to reflect local realities.

The urged all Nigerians to support the work of the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC and abide by the health tips provided to checkmate the spread of the deadly virus.

 

Coronavirus: President Buhari Suspends Operations Of Private Jets, Passenger Planes

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the movements of all private jets and passenger flights in Nigeria.

The President announced the suspension during a nationwide broadcast on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

He said, “Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended,” adding that special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Hospitals, Medical Establishments And Nine Others Exempted From Total Lock Down

Also, as part of the government’s move to curb the spread of COVID-19 across Nigeria, the President ordered a total lock down of Lagos and Ogun states.

The order was also extended to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Addressing Nigerians the President said, “Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the 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”.

He urged all citizens in these areas to stay in their homes, adding that travel to or from other states should be postponed.

All businesses and offices within these locations should also be fully closed during this period, President Buhari added.

COVID-19: Hospitals, Medical Establishments And Nine Others Exempted From Total Lock Down

President Muhammadu Buhari addresses Nigerians on the Federal Government’s preparedness in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak in the country on March 29, 2020.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, March 29, imposed a total lock down of Lagos and Ogun states, the order also extended to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In his address to the nation, the President stated that based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, it became imperative that an initial lock down period of 14 days be imposed.

According to the President, the curfew begins from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

He noted that Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria, hence the lock down is in line with the government’s focus to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way possible.

Though the lock down order has been given the President however, noted that there were some who are exempted from the clause.

READ ALSO: Full Text Of Buhari’s Address To The Nation On COVID-19

Below are some of those who are exempted from the order according to President Muhammadu Buhari.

1. Hospitals

2. Medical establishments

3. Health care manufacturing and distribution companies

4. Food processing, distribution and retail companies

5. Petroleum distribution and retail entities

6. Power generation, transmission and distribution companies

7. private security companies

8. Telecommunications Workers

9. Broadcasters

10. Print media staff

11. Electronic media personnel.

The President noted that although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

Full Text Of Buhari’s Address To The Nation On COVID-19

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, addressed the nation with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his national broadcast on the 29th of March, 2020, the President revealed that the Federal Government is tacking certain measures to ensure that the nation gets to win the war against the virus.

One of such measures is a 14-day curfew imposed on Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, starting from 11pm on Monday, March 30.

READ ALSO: Buhari Imposes Curfew In Lagos, Ogun And Abuja

Below is a full text of the President’s speech.

1. Fellow Nigerians,

2. From the first signs that Coronavirus, or COVID-19 was turning into an epidemic and was officially declared a world-wide emergency, the Federal Government started planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event the disease hits Nigeria.

3. The whole instruments of government are now mobilized to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis.

4. Nigeria, unfortunately, confirmed its first case on 27th February 2020. Since then, we have seen the number of confirmed cases rise slowly.

5. By the morning of March 29th, 2020, the total confirmed cases within Nigeria had risen to ninety-seven.

6. Regrettably, we also had our first fatality, a former employee of PPMC, who died on 23rd March 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. We also pray for quick recovery for those infected and undergoing treatment.

7. As of today, COVID-19 has no cure. Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine.

8. We are in touch with these institutions as they work towards a solution that will be certified by international and local medical authorities within the shortest possible time.

9. For now, the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygienic and sanitary practices as well as social distancing.

10. As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic. By washing our hands regularly with clean water and soap, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and areas, coughing into a tissue or elbow and strictly adhering to infection prevention control measures in health facilities, we can contain this virus.

11. Since the outbreak was reported in China, our Government has been monitoring the situation closely and studying the various responses adopted by other countries.

12. Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach. I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.

13. Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized. We ask all Nigerians to support the work the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC are doing, led by the Presidential Task Force.

14. Although we have adopted strategies used globally, our implementation programs have been tailored to reflect our local realities.

15. In Nigeria, we are taking a two step approach.

16. First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with hope and peace of mind.

17. To date, we have introduced healthcare measures, border security, fiscal and monetary policies in our response. We shall continue to do so as the situation unfolds.

18. Some of these measures will surely cause major inconveniences to many citizens. But these are sacrifices we should all be willing and ready to make for the greater good of our country.

19. In Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or an under reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.

20. Accordingly, as a Government, we will continue to rely on guidance of our medical professionals and experts at the Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant agencies through this difficult time.

21. I therefore urge all citizens to adhere to their guidelines as they are released from time to time.

22. As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.

23. This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.

24. We also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change. This strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.

25. Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately.

26. So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of adhoc staff to man our call centers and support our tracing and testing efforts.

27. I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all State Governments 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.

28. This training will also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.

29. As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated.

30. As I mentioned earlier, as at this morning we had ninety-seven confirmed cases. Majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. All the confirmed cases are getting the necessary medical care.

31. Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people these patients have been in contact with.

32. The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have travelled from these centres.

33. We are therefore working to ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread.

34. Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the 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.

35. 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.

36. The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.

37. We will 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.

38. This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.

39. Furthermore, 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.

40. Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

41. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

42. 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.

43. Furthermore, 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.

44. Accordingly, the Hon. 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.

45. Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

46. We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France and Spain.

47. However, we must all see this as our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus. I will therefore ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.

48. As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results.

49. For residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.

50. Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the 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.

51. Furthermore, I have directed that a three month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.

52. I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.

53. For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.

54. For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.

55. We also call on all Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.

56. As we all pray for the best possible outcome, we shall continue planning for all eventualities.

57. This is why I directed that all Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrims camps and other facilities be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.

58. My fellow Nigerians, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to do whatever it takes to confront COVID-19 in our country.

59. We are very grateful to see the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as our development partners.

60. At this point, I will ask that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending. The Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.

61. I want to assure you all that Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a role to play in the outbreak response are working hard to bring this virus under control.

62. Every nation in the world is challenged at this time. But we have seen countries where citizens have come together to reduce the spread of the virus.

63. I will therefore implore you again to strictly comply with the guidelines issued and also do your bit to support Government and the most vulnerable in your communities.

64. I will take this opportunity to thank all our public health workforce, health care workers, port health authorities and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment. You are true heroes.

65. I thank you all for listening. May God continue to bless and protect us all.

President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari Orders Total Lockdown Of Lagos, Ogun And Abuja

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has imposed a curfew restricting movements in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.

The President disclosed in his address to the nation on Sunday, March 29.

Addressing Nigerians, the President said, “based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the 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.”

He urged all citizens in these areas to stay in their homes, adding that travel to or from other states should be postponed.

All businesses and offices within these locations should also be fully closed during this period, President Buhari ordered.

The President revealed that the Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified.

Furthermore, the president also stated that heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.

Below is the full speech.

1. Fellow Nigerians,

2. From the first signs that Coronavirus, or COVID-19 was turning into an epidemic and was officially declared a world-wide emergency, the Federal Government started planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event the disease hits Nigeria.

3. The whole instruments of government are now mobilized to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis.

4. Nigeria, unfortunately, confirmed its first case on 27th February 2020. Since then, we have seen the number of confirmed cases rise slowly.

5. By the morning of March 29th, 2020, the total confirmed cases within Nigeria had risen to ninety-seven.

6. Regrettably, we also had our first fatality, a former employee of PPMC, who died on 23rd March 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. We also pray for quick recovery for those infected and undergoing treatment.

7. As of today, COVID-19 has no cure. Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine.

8. We are in touch with these institutions as they work towards a solution that will be certified by international and local medical authorities within the shortest possible time.

9. For now, the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygienic and sanitary practices as well as social distancing.

10. As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic. By washing our hands regularly with clean water and soap, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and areas, coughing into a tissue or elbow and strictly adhering to infection prevention control measures in health facilities, we can contain this virus.

11. Since the outbreak was reported in China, our Government has been monitoring the situation closely and studying the various responses adopted by other countries.

12. Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach. I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.

13. Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized. We ask all Nigerians to support the work the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC are doing, led by the Presidential Task Force.

14. Although we have adopted strategies used globally, our implementation programs have been tailored to reflect our local realities.

15. In Nigeria, we are taking a two step approach.

16. First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with hope and peace of mind.

17. To date, we have introduced healthcare measures, border security, fiscal and monetary policies in our response. We shall continue to do so as the situation unfolds.

18. Some of these measures will surely cause major inconveniences to many citizens. But these are sacrifices we should all be willing and ready to make for the greater good of our country.

19. In Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or an under reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.

20. Accordingly, as a Government, we will continue to rely on guidance of our medical professionals and experts at the Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant agencies through this difficult time.

21. I therefore urge all citizens to adhere to their guidelines as they are released from time to time.

22. As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.

23. This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.

24. We also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change. This strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.

25. Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately.

26. So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of adhoc staff to man our call centers and support our tracing and testing efforts.

27. I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all State Governments 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.

28. This training will also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.

29. As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated.

30. As I mentioned earlier, as at this morning we had ninety-seven confirmed cases. Majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. All the confirmed cases are getting the necessary medical care.

31. Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people these patients have been in contact with.

32. The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have travelled from these centres.

33. We are therefore working to ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread.

34. Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the 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.

35. 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.

36. The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.

37. We will 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.

38. This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.

39. Furthermore, 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.

40. Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

41. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

42. 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.

43. Furthermore, 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.

44. Accordingly, the Hon. 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.

45. Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

46. We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France and Spain.

47. However, we must all see this as our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus. I will therefore ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.

48. As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results.

49. For residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.

50. Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the 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.

51. Furthermore, I have directed that a three month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.

52. I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.

53. For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.

54. For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.

55. We also call on all Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.

56. As we all pray for the best possible outcome, we shall continue planning for all eventualities.

57. This is why I directed that all Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrims camps and other facilities be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.

58. My fellow Nigerians, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to do whatever it takes to confront COVID-19 in our country.

59. We are very grateful to see the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as our development partners.

60. At this point, I will ask that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending. The Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.

61. I want to assure you all that Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a role to play in the outbreak response are working hard to bring this virus under control.

62. Every nation in the world is challenged at this time. But we have seen countries where citizens have come together to reduce the spread of the virus.

63. I will therefore implore you again to strictly comply with the guidelines issued and also do your bit to support Government and the most vulnerable in your communities.

64. I will take this opportunity to thank all our public health workforce, health care workers, port health authorities and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment. You are true heroes.

65. I thank you all for listening. May God continue to bless and protect us all.

President Muhammadu Buhari

29th March 2020.

African Development Bank Launches Record Breaking $3bn ‘Fight COVID-19’ Social Bond

AFDB, Abia

 

The African Development Bank has raised an exceptional $3 billion in a three-year bond to help alleviate the economic and social impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on livelihoods and Africa’s economies.

The Fight Covid-19 Social bond, with a three-year maturity, garnered interest from central banks and official institutions, bank treasuries, and asset managers including Socially Responsible Investors, with bids exceeding $4.6 billion. This is the largest dollar denominated Social Bond ever launched in international capital markets to date, and the largest US Dollar benchmark ever issued by the Bank. It will pay an interest rate of 0.75%.

The African Development Bank Group is moving to provide flexible responses aimed at lessening the severe economic and social impact of this pandemic on its regional member countries and Africa’s private sector.

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“These are critical times for Africa as it addresses the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus. The African Development Bank is taking bold measures to support African countries. This $3 billion Covid-19 bond issuance is the first part of our comprehensive response that will soon be announced. This is indeed the largest dollar social bond transaction to date in capital markets. We are here for Africa, and we will provide significant rapid support for countries,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

The order book for this record-breaking bond highlights the scale of investor support, which the African Development Bank enjoys, said the arrangers.

“As the Covid-19 outbreak is dangerously threatening Africa, the African Development Bank lives up to its huge responsibilities and deploys funds to assist and prepare the African population, through the financing of access to health and to all other essential goods, services and infrastructure,” said Tanguy Claquin, Head of Sustainable Banking, Crédit Agricole CIB.

Coronavirus cases were slow to arrive in Africa, but the virus is spreading quickly and has infected nearly 3,000 people across 45 countries, placing strain on already fragile health systems.

It is estimated that the continent will require many billions of dollars to cushion the impact of the disease as many countries scrambled contingency measures, including commercial lockdowns in desperate efforts to contain it. Globally, factories have been closed and workers sent home, disrupting supply chains, trade, travel, and driving many economies toward recession.

Commenting on the landmark transaction, George Sager, Executive Director, SSA Syndicate, Goldman Sachs said: “In a time of unprecedented market volatility, the African Development Bank has been able to brave the capital markets in order to secure invaluable funding to help the efforts of the African continent’s fight against Covid-19. Not only that, but in the process, delivering their largest ever USD benchmark. A truly remarkable outcome both in terms of its purpose but also in terms of a USD financing”.

The Bank established its Social Bond framework in 2017 and raised the equivalent of $2 billion through issuances denominated in Euro and Norwegian krone. In 2018 the Bank was designated by financial markets, ‘Second most impressive social or sustainability bond issuer” at the Global Capital SRI Awards.

“We are thankful for the exceptional level of interest the Fight Covid-19 Social Bond has raised across the world, as the African Development Bank moves towards lessening the social and economic impact of the pandemic on a continent already severely constrained. Our Social bond program enables us to highlight our strong development mandate to the investor community, allowing them to play a part in improving the lives of the people of Africa. This was an exceptional outcome for an exceptional cause,” said Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Treasurer, African Development Bank.

Fight Covid-19 was allocated to central banks and official institutions (53%), bank treasuries (27%) and asset managers (20%). Final bond distribution statistics were as follows: Europe (37%), Americas (36%), Asia (17%) Africa (8%,) and Middle-East (1%).