ADDRESS BY
H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE
EXTENSION OF COVID- 19 PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN AT THE STATE HOUSE, ABUJA.

MONDAY, 13TH
APRIL, 2020

Muhammadu Buhari on Twitter: "I wholeheartedly thank all Nigerians ...

1. Fellow
Nigerians

2. In my
address on Sunday, 29th March 2020, I asked the residents of Lagos and Ogun
States as well as the Federal Capital Territory to stay at home for an initial
period of fourteen days starting from Monday, 30th March 2020.

3. Many State
Governments also introduced similar restrictions.

4. As your
democratically elected leaders, we made this very difficult decision knowing
fully well it will severely disrupt your livelihoods and bring undue hardship
to you, your loved ones and your communities.

5. However,
such sacrifices are needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our country. They
were necessary to save lives.

6. Our objective was and still remains, to contain the spread of the Coronavirus and
to provide space, time and resources for aggressive and collective action.

7. The level
of compliance to the COVID-19 guidelines issued has been generally good across
the country. I wish to thank you all most sincerely for the great sacrifice you
are making for each other at this critical time.

8. I will take
this opportunity to recognise the massive support from our traditional rulers,
the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Nigerian Supreme Council for
Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) during this pandemic.

9. I also
acknowledge the support and contributions received from public-spirited
individuals, the business community and our international partners and friends.

10. I must
also thank the media houses, celebrities and other public figures for the great
work they are doing in sensitizing our citizens on hygienic practices, social
distancing and issues associated with social gatherings.

11. As a
result of the overwhelming support and cooperation received, we were able to
achieve a lot during these 14 days of initial lockdown.

12.We
implemented comprehensive public health measures that intensified our case
identification, testing, isolation and contact tracing capabilities.

13. To date,
we have identified 92% of all identified contacts while doubling the number of
testing laboratories in the country and raising our testing capacity to 1,500
tests per day.

14.We also
trained over 7,000 Healthcare workers on infection prevention and control while
deploying NCDC teams to 19 states of the federation.

15. Lagos and
Abuja today have the capacity to admit some 1,000 patients each across several
treatment centres.

16. Many State
Governments have also made provisions for isolation wards and treatment
centres. We will also build similar centres near our airports and land borders.

17. Using our
resources and those provided through donations, we will adequately equip and
man these centres in the coming weeks. Already, health care workers across all
the treatment centres have been provided with the personal protective equipment
that they need to safely carry out the care they provide.

18. Our hope
and prayers are that we do not have to use all these centres. But we will be
ready for all eventualities.

19. At this
point, I must recognise the incredible work being done by our healthcare
workers and volunteers across the country especially in frontline areas of
Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

20. You are
our heroes and as a nation, we will forever remain grateful for your sacrifice
during this very difficult time. More measures to motivate our health care
workers are being introduced which we will announce in the coming weeks.

21. As a
nation, we are on the right track to win the fight against COVID-19.

22. However, I
remain concerned about the increase in the number of confirmed cases and deaths
being reported across the world and in Nigeria specifically.

23. On 30th
March 2020, when we started our lockdown in conforming with medical and
scientific advice, the total number of confirmed cases across the world was
over 780,000.

24. Yesterday,
the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally was over one million, eight
hundred and fifty thousand. This figure is more than double in two weeks!

25. In the
last fourteen days alone, over 70,000 people have died due to this disease.

26. In the
same period, we have seen the health system of even the most developed nations
being overwhelmed by this virus.

27. Here in
Nigeria, we had 131 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 12 States on 30th March
2020. We had two fatalities then.

28. This
morning, Nigeria had 323 confirmed cases in twenty States. Unfortunately, we now
have ten fatalities. Lagos State remains the centre and accounts for 54% of the
confirmed cases in Nigeria. When combined with the FCT, the two locations
represent over 71% of the confirmed cases in Nigeria.

29. Most of
our efforts will continue to focus on these two locations.

30. Majority
of the confirmed cases in Lagos and the FCT are individuals with recent
international travel history or those that came into contact with returnees
from international trips.

31. By closing
our airports and land borders and putting strict conditions for a seaport
activities, we have reduced the impact of external factors on our country.
However, the increase in the number of States with positive cases is alarming.

32. The
National Centre for Disease Control has informed me that, a large proportion of
new infections are now occurring in our communities, through person-to-person
contacts. So we must pay attention to the danger of close contact between
person to person.

33. At this
point, I will remind all Nigerians to continue to take responsibility for the
recommended measures to prevent transmission, including maintaining physical
distancing, good personal hygiene and staying at home.

34. In addition,
I have signed the Quarantine Order in this regard and additional regulations to
provide clarity in respect of the control measures for the COVID-19 pandemic
which will be released soon.

35. The public
health response to COVID-19 is built on our ability to detect, test and admit
cases as well as trace all their contacts. While I note some appreciable
progress, we can achieve a lot more.

36. Today, the
cessation of movement, physical distancing measures and the prohibition of mass
gatherings remain the most efficient and effective way of reducing the
transmission of the virus. By sustaining these measures, combined with
extensive testing and contact tracing, we can take control and limit the spread
of the disease.

37. Our
approach to the virus remains in 2 steps – First, to protect the lives of our
fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the
livelihoods of workers and business owners.

38. With this
in mind and having carefully considered the briefings and Report from the Presidential
Task Force and the various options offered, it has become necessary to extend
the current restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT
for another 14 days effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020. I
am therefore once again asking you all to work with Government in this fight.

39. This is
not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have
been closed. 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.

40. The
previously issued guidelines on exempted services shall remain.

41. This is a
difficult decision to take, but I am convinced that this is the right decision.
The evidence is clear.

42. The
repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable.

43. We must
not lose the gains achieved thus far. We must not allow a rapid increase in
community transmission. We must endure a little longer.

44. I will
therefore take this opportunity to urge you all to notify the relevant
authorities if you or your loved ones develop any symptoms. I will also ask our
health care professionals to redouble their efforts to identify all suspected
cases, bring them into care and prevent transmission to others.

45. No country
can afford the full impact of a sustained restriction of movement on its
economy. I am fully aware of the great difficulties experienced especially by
those who earn a daily wage such as traders, dayworkers, artisans and manual
workers.

46. For this
group, their sustenance depends on their ability to go out. Their livelihoods
depend on them mingling with others and about seeking work. But despite these
realities, we must not change the restrictions.

47. In the
past two weeks, we announced palliative measures such as food distribution,
cash transfers and loans repayment waivers to ease the pains of our restrictive
policies during this difficult time. These palliatives will be sustained.

48. I have
also directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million
households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks. This means we will
support an additional one million homes with our social investment programs. A
technical committee is working on this and will submit a report to me by the
end of this week.

49. The
Security Agencies have risen to the challenges posed by this unprecedented
situation with gallantry and I commend them. I urge them to continue to
maintain utmost vigilance, firmness as well as restraint in enforcing the
restriction orders while not neglecting statutory security responsibilities.

50. Fellow
Nigerians, follow the instructions on social distancing. The irresponsibility
of the few can lead to the death of the many. Your freedom ends where other
people’s rights begin.

51. The
response of our State Governors has been particularly impressive, especially in
aligning their policies and actions to those of the Federal Government.

52. In the
coming weeks, I want to assure you that the Federal Government, through the
Presidential Task Force, will do whatever it takes to support you in this very
difficult period. I have no doubt that, by working together and carefully
following the rules, we shall get over this pandemic.

53. I must
also, thank the Legislative arm of Government for all its support and donations
in this very difficult period. This collaboration is critical to the short and
long-term success of all the measures that we have instituted in response to
the pandemic.

54. As a
result of this pandemic, the world as we know it has changed. The way we
interact with each other, conduct our businesses and trade, travel, educate our
children and earn our livelihoods will be different.

55. To ensure
our economy adapts to this new reality, I am directing the Ministers of
Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Science and
Technology, Transportation, Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing,
Labour and Employment and Education to jointly develop a comprehensive policy
for a “Nigerian economy functioning with COVID-19”.

56. The
Ministers will be supported by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and
Economic Sustainability Committee in executing this mandate.

57. I am also
directing the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National
Security Adviser, the Vice-Chairman, National Food Security Council and the
Chairman, Presidential Fertiliser Initiative to work with the Presidential Task
Force on COVID-19 to ensure the impact of this pandemic on our 2020 farming the season is minimized.

58. Finally, I
want to thank the members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for all
their hard work so far. Indeed, the patriotism shown in your work is exemplary
and highly commendable.

59. Fellow
Nigerians, I have no doubt that by working together and carefully following the
rules, we shall get over this pandemic and emerge stronger in the end.

60. I thank
you all for listening and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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