#COVID19: Nigeria orders total closure of land borders, suspension of FEC meetings

President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s government has ordered total closure of land borders, suspension of Federal Executive Meetings and the postponement of the meeting of the Council of State ​​​scheduled for Thursday, March 26.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, made this known on Monday in Abuja, at a  news conference to update the media on further decisions to monitor the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

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He said: “In furtherance of our ongoing engagement with the public and stakeholders through the PTF and the Minister of Health, I find it necessary to update you on recent developments regarding the management of matters arising from COVID-19 Pandemic.

“President Muhammadu Buhari on the recommendation of PTF has approved the following additional measures.

“All land borders that have been hitherto under partial closure ​​shall now be closed for human traffic for four weeks effective, ​​March 23;

“​In order to protect Federal Civil and Public Servants, a circular ​​to be issued by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation ​​(HCSF) shall direct on actions to be taken immediately.

“All Abuja and Lagos residents are strongly advised to stay at ​​home,  avoid mass congregation of any kind as well as non-​​essential outings, until further advice is given.”

Mustapha, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said the strategy of government was to focus on testing, detection and containment through contact tracking in order to minimise hugely, the possibility of community spread.

He urged anyone experiencing the symptoms of the virus or has been in contact with anyone who had been suspected or tested positive to report at the nearest medical facility or the designated center.

“The PTF continues to monitor the global and domestic developments and has isolated Lagos and Abuja for particular attention in view of their population, mobility and number of cases already reported.

“​As you are all aware, a number of advisories have been issued and measures taken,” he said.

He listed part of the measures being taken presently to include,  escalating the nation’s capacity for testing and detection ​​​through the acquisition of more testing kits and ​​​​establishment of additional test centres.

Others are acquisition of personnel protection equipment (PPE) for ​​​different categories of frontline personnel, ​enhancing contact tracking, deepening awareness creation, mobilisation of experts and trained personnel whether in ​​​service or retired.

And also, introduction of social distancing policies and banning mass ​​gathering of over fifty (50) persons, the total ban on international travels shall commence at 12.00 ​​midnight tonight at all our airports.

“Leaders of different faiths have been encouraged to restrict ​​services and activities that involve mass gathering of more ​​than fifty of their adherents.  State governments are also ​​​enforcing this policy at different levels, “ he said.