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Buhari’s Speech: How The Coronavirus Lockdown May Affect Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari orders the lockdown of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun due to coronavirus | Image: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

These are trying times for billions of people across the world. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, nations are taking measures to combat the deadly disease as it spreads rapidly and cripples the global economy.

Consequent to the rise in the number of affected cases of coronavirus in Nigeria, the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun – the three most affected states in Nigeria. The lockdown will take effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

These measures, president Muhammadu Buhari, warned will cause major inconveniences to many people. “But these are sacrifices we should all be ready to make for the greater good of the country,” Buhari said in a televised speech yesterday.

Below are some of the ways in which the restriction may impact the lives of Nigerians in the affected state.

Businesses Will Shut down:
Although many businesses have been shuttered or left operating a low capacity mode in the past few weeks, especially in Lagos, the new restriction order will see many more businesses shut down with the exception of hospitals, medical and healthcare-related establishments; food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities; power generation, transmission and distribution companies; private security companies and the press. These businesses will, however, be monitored.

Food price hike
The three affected states are some of the most populated states in Nigeria hence demand for food will be high. The president assured Nigerians that food processing, distribution and retail companies would be exempted from the lockdown.
Buhari also promised that relief materials will be provided for residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around the affected states.

Security Concerns
The lockdown may spike security concerns as security agents would be tasked with the double duty of enforcing the restrictions while protecting lives and properties.

A few security challenges have been reported in other African countries that have imposed similar restrictions.

In Rwanda, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, police have denied that two civilians shot dead Monday were killed for defying the new measures, saying the men attacked an officer after being stopped.

In Kenya, dozens of people were reportedly injured as paramilitary police tear gassed and beat passengers trying to board a ferry in order to make a curfew imposed by the authorities.

Overwhelmed Healthcare
Indeed all lives matter, but it is safe to say that priority will be given to coronavirus cases. The healthcare sector will be overwhelmed as doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners fight to save the lives of coronavirus patients as well as those with other health issues.

It is not all gloomy as these measures have been proven to be effective.

Chinese health officials announced that the country passed the peak of the coronavirus epidemic less than two months after the lockdown went into effect.

A week after the lockdown was implemented in China, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization (WHO) commended the Chinese government.

“The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people.”

President Buhari admitted that the government is fully aware that these measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. “But this is a matter of life and death” if one were to consider the news reports coming out of some of the worst hit countries like Italy and Spain.

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