In view of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari, would on Monday extend the lockdown in Abuja as well as Lagos and Ogun States for another two weeks.
The president would however relax some of the restrictions on essential business activities by enabling movements to open up the economy.
It was learnt that religious and social gatherings would remain banned for now to curb the spread of the diseases, while wearing of face masks would become compulsory in public.
But the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in a letter advised the government to continue the lockdown on flight operations in the country.
In the letter titled, “COVID-19 Protocol: NGF Input on The Proposed Presidential Interventions,” signed by Ekiti State governor and chairman, NGF, Dr Kayode Fayemi and addressed to the Secretary to the Federal Government of the Federation (SGF), and chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, the NGF said following its teleconference meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday, April, 22, 2020, it was agreed that it articulates the issues that it would want to be included in the next presidential pronouncement on coronavirus so as to have a uniform and coordinated policy on COVID-19 pandemic at both the national and sub-national levels.
The NGF in the letter dated April 24, 2020, said subject to President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval, it wants inter-state lockdown excluding movement of essential supplies — foods, beverages, medical and pharmaceuticals, petroleum supplies and agricultural products, internal free movement but with restrictions on large gatherings and assemblies, overnight curfews, and compulsory use of face masks/coverings in the public.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and some prominent Nigerians had before now, called on the President Muhammadu Buhari not to extend the lockdown.
It would be recalled that the federal government added yet another two weeks to the closure of international airports in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who made the announcement then, said the airports would no longer open for commercial operations on April 23, as earlier announced when they were shut down due to the extended lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun State.
Since March 23, the Federal Government had shut all international airports in the country, initially for one month.
The president had also extended the closure to all local airports in the country, while announcing a 14-day lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States on March 29.
On April 13, the president extended the lockdown in the three cities by two weeks.
Although, airports in the country are open to emergency and essential flights, commercial flight operations have since ceased in the country.