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Military not responsible for enforcement of lockdown, social distancing – DHQ

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The Defence Headquarters, yesterday, said the Nigerian military was not responsible for the enforcement of social distancing and lockdown as cases of Coronavirus in the country spike.

The Coordinator, Directorate of Defence Media Operations (CDDMO), Maj-Gen. John Enenche, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, said the military yet received any order to enforce a total lockdown in the country.

He said: “We, like the military, don’t just go out on our own to start enforcing lockdown. If there is a need for enforcement of social distancing and lockdown directives, first and foremost, it should be the responsibility of Nigerian Police from their architecture and the way they work.

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“As it is now, I am hopeful that as we are hearing the progress various countries are making, taking the advice of staying at home is very encouraging. It is just an issue of enlightenment; everyone will comply.”

Enenche noted that sequel to the ongoing federal government fight against the spread of the Coronavirus, the armed forces have put measures in place to aid the civil authorities, adding: “As you may be aware, Section 217 (2) c of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), empowers the military to act in aid of civil authority.

“Consequently, a committee was constituted at the Defence Headquarters to ensure that the AFN provides the necessary support to the federal government at this period.

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“It is mainly a non-kinetic military operation, with major features of Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities.”

He noted that the military has developed a two-pronged approach to fight the pandemic- medical and security approaches, noting: “The medical approach is the deployment of military personnel in aid of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the federal government through the provision of land, maritime and air assets, for transportation of emergency cases and medical supplies, as was the case with the medical supplies donated by the Jack Ma Foundation.

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“Furthermore, under the medical aid, we have 17 medical facilities spread across the country, which have been designated for isolation and treatment of confirmed cases of the COVID-19. We have also concluded plans to recall our retired medical personnel to complement those in active service.

“On security-related support, the armed forces will activate its disaster response units across the country, in conjunction with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). These units will be responsible for the security management of emergencies other than medicals.

“The Defence Headquarters hereby, assures the public of its total commitment to the human security effort of the Federal Government.”

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