President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said lockdown measures are “essential” to defeat the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria and urged citizens to “observe restrictions on movement where they are in place” during the Easter holiday.
Buhari made the comments in a statement released by Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.
The President also said the lockdown will last as long “as our scientific advisers declare they are necessary.”
“For those who suffer most egregiously” during the lockdown, Buhari said the government was ready to help assist with grains and distribution of small cash payments.
“No elected government could ask more of the citizens of the country that elected them than today we ask of you,” the President said. “But we must ask you – once more – to observe restrictions on movement where they are in place, and follow the instructions of our scientists and medical advisers: stay home, wash your hands, save lives.
“We ask you to listen and follow public announcements via the mass media for instructions as to how to receive this government support – and learn of more public assistance in the coming days.
“All that the Government is asking you to endure is because nowhere in the world today is there any known way of defeating this pandemic. There is no vaccine. And that means there are choices to be made: between continuing as usual, or accepting the restrictions even when they come with unintended consequences.
“But at this darkest hour, it remains our duty to offer you the full and unvarnished truth: This is a global pandemic. 210 countries and territories across the globe are affected. We cannot expect others to come to our assistance. No one is coming to defeat this virus for us.
“Instead, the defeat of the virus in our country will be in our hands, alone. We cannot wait for others. We can only depend on ourselves now. And so we must – and we will – end this outbreak ourselves as Nigerians, together.”