Full text of President Buhari’s address

ADDRESS OF H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI,
PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA IN THE CUMULATIVE ORDER OF LOCKDOWN OF THE STATES OF LAGOS AND OGUN, AS WELL AS THE FEDERAL TERRITORY OF CAPITALS ABOUT PANDEMIA COVID
AT THE STATE HOUSE, ABUJA
MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2020

  1. Nigerian Companions
  2. I will begin by praising everyone for the resilience and patriotism that they demonstrated in our collective struggle against the greatest health challenge of our generation.
  3. As of yesterday, April 26, 2020, about 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded globally, with about 900,000 recoveries. Unfortunately, about 200,000 people died as a result of this pandemic.
  4. The health systems and economies of many nations continue to struggle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  5. Nigeria continues to adapt to these new global realities on a daily basis. Today, I will present the facts as they are and explain our plans for the coming months, aware that some important variables and assumptions may change in the coming days or weeks.
  6. Exactly two weeks ago, there were 323 confirmed cases in 20 states and in the Federal Capital Territory.
  7. This morning, Nigeria recorded 1,273 cases in 32 states and the FCT. Unfortunately, that includes 40 deaths.
  8. I am taking this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to the families of all Nigerians who have lost their loved ones as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is our collective loss and we share your sadness.
  9. Initial models predicted that Nigeria would register about 2,000 confirmed cases in the first month after the index.
  10. This means that, despite the increase in the number of confirmed cases registered in the last two weeks, the measures we have implemented so far have produced positive results in relation to the projections.
  11. The proportion of cases imported from other countries has reduced to just 19% of new cases, showing that the closure of our borders has produced positive results. These are mainly Nigerian companions who return across our land borders. We will continue to apply protocols for arriving at land borders as part of the containment strategy.
  12. Today, the Nigeria Disease Control Center (NCDC) has accredited 15 laboratories across the country with an aggregate capacity to perform 2,500 tests per day across the country.
  13. Based on their comments, the Lagos State Government and FCT, with the support of the NCDC, established several sample collection centers. They are also reviewing their laboratory testing strategy to further increase the number of tests they can perform, including the accreditation of selected private laboratories that meet the accreditation criteria.
  14. Several new fully equipped treatment and isolation centers have been operated across the country, thus increasing the bed's capacity to about three thousand.
  15. I recommend to State Governors the activation of Emergency Operations Centers at the state level, the establishment of new treatment centers and the delivery of aggressive risk communication strategies.
  16. More than 10,000 health professionals have been trained. For your protection, additional personal protective equipment has been distributed to all states.
  17. Although we have faced logistical challenges, we remain committed to establishing a solid supply chain process to ensure that these heroic professionals can work safely and be adequately equipped.
  18. In keeping with our government's promise to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals, we signed a memorandum of understanding on providing risk permits and other incentives with leading healthcare professional associations.
  19. We also purchased insurance coverage for 5,000 frontline healthcare professionals. At this point, I must commend the insurance industry for its support in achieving this within a short period of time.
  20. Nigeria also continued to receive support from the international community, multilateral agencies, the private sector and people of public spirit. This support ensured that essential life-saving equipment and materials, which have become scarce around the world, are available to Nigeria through original equipment manufacturers and government-to-government processes.
  21. The distribution and expansion of the palliatives that I directed in my previous broadcast is still in progress transparently. I am aware of the apparent frustration faced by expectant citizens. I ask all potential beneficiaries to be patient while we continue to adjust our logistical and distribution processes that work with state governments.
  22. Our security agencies continue to face the challenge of this unusual situation. While we are deeply concerned about isolated security incidents, I want to assure all Nigerians that their safety and protection remains our primary concern, especially in these difficult and uncertain times.
  23. As we focus on protecting lives and property, we will not tolerate any abuse of human rights by our security agencies. The few incidents reported are unfortunate, and I want to guarantee that the culprits will be brought to justice
  24. I ask all Nigerians to continue to cooperate and demonstrate understanding whenever they encounter security officers. In addition, for your protection, I have instructed the personnel of all security agencies to receive the necessary personal protective equipment against infections.
  25. As we continue to rationalize our response in the Lagos and FCT centers, I am deeply concerned by the unfortunate developments in Kano in the past few days. Although an in-depth investigation is still ongoing, we have decided to deploy additional Federal Government labor, material and technical resources to strengthen and support the efforts of the State Government, with immediate effect.
  26. In Kano, and indeed in many other states that are registering new cases, preliminary results show that these cases are mainly of interstate travel and emerging community transmission.
  27. Based on this, I implore all Nigerians to continue to strictly follow the guidelines published by the Presidential Task Force and the Nigeria Disease Control Center.
  28. This includes regular hand washing, physical distance, wearing masks / covers in public, preventing non-essential movements and travel and preventing large meetings.
  29. Nigerian comrades, in the past four weeks, most parts of our country have come under the federal government or the state government. As I mentioned earlier, these steps were necessary and, in general, contributed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our country.
  30. However, these locks also have a very high economic cost. Many of our citizens have lost their livelihood. Many companies have closed. No country can afford the full impact of a prolonged blockade pending the development of vaccines.
  31. In my last speech, I mentioned that the Federal Government will develop strategies and policies that will protect lives and preserve livelihoods.
  32. In these two weeks, the Federal and State Governments worked together and collaboratively on how to balance the need to protect health and, at the same time, preserve livelihoods, taking advantage of global best practices, keeping in mind our peculiar circumstances.
  33. We evaluate how our factories, markets, traders and transporters can continue to function, while following the NCDC guidelines on hygiene and social detachment.
  34. We evaluate how our children can continue to learn without compromising their health. We look at how our farmers can safely plant and harvest this rainy season to ensure that our food security is not compromised. In addition, we also discussed how to safely transport food items from rural production areas to industrial processing zones and, finally, to major consumption centers.
  35. Our goal was to develop enforceable policies that ensure that our economy continues to function while still maintaining our aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These same difficult decisions are being faced by leaders around the world.
  36. Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the various Federal Government committees that analyzed socio-economic issues and the Nigeria Governors' Forum, we approved a gradual and gradual easing of blocking measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States as of Monday, May 4, 2020.
  37. However, this will be followed strictly with the aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracking measures, allowing the restoration of some economic and commercial activities in certain sectors.
  38. In addition, new measures across the country should be introduced as follows;
  39. There will be a curfew during the night from 20:00 to 06:00. This means that all movements will be prohibited during this period, except essential services;
  40. There will be a ban on non-essential interstate passenger travel until further notice;
  41. Partial and controlled interstate circulation of goods and services will be allowed for the circulation of goods and services from producers to consumers; and
  42. We strictly guarantee the mandatory use of masks or coatings in public, in addition to maintaining physical distance and personal hygiene. In addition, restrictions on social and religious gatherings must remain in effect. State governments, corporate organizations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.
  43. For the avoidance of doubt, the blockade in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States will remain in effect until these new ones come into effect on Monday, May 4, 2020.
  44. The Presidential Task Force will provide sector-specific details to allow for preparations by governments, companies and institutions.
  45. In relation to the above guidelines, State Governors may choose to adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances, as long as they maintain alignment with the guidelines issued above.
  46. In order to support our businesses and traders, the monetary and tax authorities must implement all necessary provisions for production to continue and, thus, the works restored.
  47. These revised guidelines will not apply to the state of Kano.
  48. As far as Kano is concerned, I directed the execution of a total blockade for a period of two weeks, with immediate effect. The Federal Government will use all the human, material and technical resources necessary to support the State in the control and containment of the pandemic and in preventing the risk of further spread to neighboring States.
  49. I wish once again to congratulate the frontline workers across the country who, daily, risk everything to ensure that we win this fight. For those who have been infected in the line of duty, rest assured that the Government will do everything necessary to support you and your family during this extremely difficult period. I will also take this opportunity to assure everyone that your security, well-being and well-being remain fundamental to our government.
  50. I will also acknowledge the support we have received from our traditional rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Supreme Council of Nigeria for Islamic Affairs and other prominent religious and community leaders. Your cooperation and support have contributed significantly to the successes we have recorded so far.
  51. I urge everyone to please continue to raise awareness of the seriousness of the coronavirus among its faithful and communities, while appealing to them to strictly adhere to public health advice.
  52. I also thank the Nigeria Governors' Forum and the Presidential Task Force for all their hard work to date. Through this collaboration, I remain confident that success is achievable.
  53. I also want to thank corporate organizations, philanthropists, the UN system, the European Union, friendly nations, the media and other partners who have taken on the responsibility to support our response.
  54. And finally, I thank all Nigerians again for their patience and cooperation during this difficult and challenging period. I assure you that the government will continue to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of our citizens and residents.
  55. I thank you for your attention and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

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