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Coronavirus: Buhari addresses Nigerians [Press release]

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Coronavirus – Nigeria: Statement by His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (March 26, 2020)
ABUJA, Nigeria, March 27, 2020/ —

Over the last few days, I have received extensive briefings on the state of the nation as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic, from the relevant Federal Government agencies as well as the Lagos State Government.

Accordingly, I approved the following:

The immediate release of a 10 billion Naira grant to Lagos State, which remains the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Nigeria. This grant will enable Lagos increase its capacity to control and contain the outbreak, while also supporting other States with capacity-building.

The immediate release of a 5 billion Naira special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country.

The Nigerian Air Force is already making its fleet available to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, to enable a better coordinated and more effective response across the country.

To protect our homeland from external exposure, I directed the immediate closure of our International Airports and Land Borders for four weeks in the first instance, to enable us put up the appropriate policies, processes and infrastructure to cope with suspected and confirmed cases at home, without risking a compounding of the situation with more imported cases.

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The inconvenience caused by these flight and travel restrictions to our fellow citizens abroad who want to return home is regrettable, but it is necessary for the greater good, and I thank you all for your understanding and cooperation.

I have also directed that only cargo vessels that have been at sea for more than 14 days be allowed to dock in our ports, after the crew have been tested and confirmed disease-free by the Port Health Authorities.

This 14-day restriction, however, does not apply to vessels carrying oil and gas products as by their nature, there is minimal human contact.

We have also suspended the movement of commuter trains to limit the spread of the virus to other parts of the country.

I have directed the NCDC to draft all its recent retirees back into service to beef up our manpower as we respond to the pandemic.

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Furthermore, all NCDC staff and experts who are away on training or international assignments are to return immediately.

Already the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) are conducting an evacuation mission to bring back some of our specialists in Central Africa, to enable them support the national response.

I commend the monetary policy authorities for their financial intervention to support our entrepreneurs and companies as we go through this difficult time.

We are also looking at fiscal measures to minimise the negative impact of this pandemic on the livelihood of millions of Nigerians.

As you are aware we have begun the process of reviewing the federal budget. We shall communicate our fiscal interventions once the budget review process is concluded.

In the meantime, I have directed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, to work with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), to ensure that all production of essential items such as food, medical and pharmaceutical products continues unhindered.

We are engaging our international friends and partners to share knowledge and to seek their support in our response to the pandemic. We are grateful for the show of support thus far – we have already started receiving goods and supplies intended to help us scale up our efforts.

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Let me specially thank and commend all of the hard and heroic work being done by our medical personnel, the NCDC, Port Health Authorities, Security Agencies, State Governments, and all ad-hoc staff and volunteers.

I urge all Nigerians to be mindful of those among us who seek to spread panic and misinformation and sow confusion at this time.

We must all pay attention only to the relevant government agencies working day and night to make accurate and useful information available to the public.

I will also ask all of us to strictly obey all public health guidelines and instructions issued by the Federal and State health authorities, regarding personal hygiene and social distancing.

In the meantime, I want to assure all Nigerians, that the Federal Government remains committed to protecting all Nigerians. We seek your full support and cooperation as we go through this very difficult time. Together we will triumph over this pandemic.

General

JUST IN: NDDC headquarters shuts down over COVID-19 scare

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The management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has shut down the commission’s corporate headquarters following COVID-19 scare.

The coronavirus scare, it was gathered, was triggered by the death of a member of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of NDDC, Mr Ibanga Etang.

Etang, who until his death, was the Acting Executive Director of Finance and Administration reportedly died at about 2 am on Thursday at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), Port Harcourt after a brief illness.

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An internal memo signed for the management by Silas Anyanwu directed informed all employees that the headquarters of the commission would be shut down for two weeks with immediate effect.

“Consequently, all activities of the commission including ongoing matters are hereby shut down,” the memo said.

Details shortly…

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VSF supports Edo IDPs with COVID-19 palliatives

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The Victims Support Fund (VSF) has supported the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and vulnerable Nigerians in Edo State with palliatives to help cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The VSF Team was led by the Chairperson of the VSF Task Force on COVID-19, Mrs. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji who was in the company of the Edo State government that was ably represented by the wife of the Edo State Governor, Mrs Betsy Obaseki.

This comes as the country battles over 8700 cases of the respiratory illness that has affected economies across the globe, including that of Nigeria.

MyNigeria.com reports that the VSF palliative was in the form of 200 bags set that contained 10kg of rice, 10kg of beans, 10kg of garri, 4kg of vegetable oil and 2 small packets of salt per bag.

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During the course of delivery of the items, additional bags of foodstuff were added to the initial amount by compassionate officials of VSF to the amazement IDPs Camp Uhogua.

Speaking on behalf of the management team of the camp, Coordinator of International Christian Centre (ICCM) and Coordinator of the Camp, Pastor Solomon Folorunsho said the VSF is Godsent for coming at this very critical time.

He said the lockdown caused by Covid-19 has impacted negatively on the welfare of the residents of the Camp.

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The visit to the IDPs Camp Uhogua was a response to an “SOS correspondence they recently received from CSED (Community Sport and Educational Development)” and the VSF intends to visit most states in Nigeria.

According to reports, the current cost of preparing a meal for the four thousand five hundred and seventy-five residents of the Camp is about three hundred thousand naira.

National Coordinator of CSED, Mr Edema Fuludu said that they were forced to reach out to VSF and other bodies having seen the plight of the people, though the CSED work is mainly sport/educational intervention.

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“We cannot afford to walk on by when the children/youths we work with are in dire needs of food and basic daily necessities,” Mr Fuludu said.

Mr Fuludu urged public-spirited individuals, corporate organisations and NGOs to continue to provide palliatives to the IDPs and other needy members of the society, as this is the only way they (vulnerable Nigerians) can survive the hunger and social isolation that has been induced by Covid-19.

He noted that “every effort put in touching the vulnerable in the society is the rent we pay to God for allowing us to live on planet earth.”

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Govt can’t risk reopening schools now – education minister

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No date yet for schools resumption – Education minister

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba,  said that the Federal Ministry of Education would not risk reopening schools across the country, until all preventive measures had been put in place.

He noted that various dates of resumption being circulated in some quarters were false, adding that the government would consider introducing afternoon classes to ease rowdiness.

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Nwajiuba said,

“We want to say that the announcement that we are reopening all schools on June 8 did not emanate from us. That is not true; until we are sure that these children can go to school, return safely and not bring home with them this COVID-19 material.

“So we are not taking that risk yet. We are going to prepare as much as possible within the guidance that we are offered, working in conjunction with the World Health Organisation, before we reopen schools.”

 

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