COVID-19 lockdown: Governors want free movement, compulsory face masks
Governors of the 36 States of the federation have advised the federal government to allow internal free movement but with restrictions on large gatherings and assemblies as the second 14-day lockdown on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos, and Ogun States in order to stop the spread of the novel COVID-19 ends on midnight Monday.
A letter dated April 24, 2020 from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha also advocated compulsory use of face masks in the public.
The letter signed by NGF chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, was written as a follow-up to a teleconference meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
The governors’ recommendations, if approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, suggested in the letter that the impending broadcast on the lockdown incorporated: “Inter-state lockdown, excluding movement of essential supplies- food, beverages, medical and pharmaceutical, petroleum supplies and agricultural products; internal free movement but with restrictions on large gatherings and assemblies; overnight curfews; lockdown of flights; and compulsory use of face masks/coverings in the public.”
“Recall at the meeting it was agreed that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) articulates the issues that it would want to be included in the next Presidential Pronouncement on COVID-19 so as to have a Uniform and coordinated Policy on COVID-19 at both the national and sub-national levels,” the letter added.
Last Wednesday, the governors “unanimously” agreed to the implementation of an inter-State lockdown in the country over the next two weeks to mitigate the spread of the pandemic COVID-19 virus from State to State.
In a communique issued by the NGF chairman at the end of the sixth COVID-19 teleconference meeting said only essential services would be permitted.
The governors also called for the decentralization of the COVID-19 response as the best chance of nipping the spread of the virus in communities with over 25 States now affected by the spread of the virus and increasing evidence of community transmission.
The governors reached the agreement after receiving briefing from the governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Oyo and Ogun States who shared their experiences and lessons from the fight against COVID-19.
It would be recalled that President Buhari currently imposed lockdown in only the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States to halt the spread of the novel pandemic coronavirus.
Some of the States have taken similar measures to fight the deadly virus but there is no nationwide lockdown from the federal government.
Health experts say the country may be heading towards the need for nationwide lockdown to stop the virus as confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country as announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) jumped above 1000.