The federal government has said that the lockdown of some states and theclosure of their borders by their respective governors is illegal.
In reaction to reports of Nigerians being trapped in the border communities of some states because of the closure of the borders by the governor, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said that the lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday to stop the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic only affected the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States.
Boss Mustapha further explained that only Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital territory (FCT) are on lockdown, warning against restriction of movements in other states.
As a measure to stop the spread of COVID-19, President Muhammadu Buhari had on Sunday ordered the lockdown in FCT and the two sates.
His pronouncement came in Abuja yesterday as the Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, disclosed that the state government had obtained permission from the presidency to begin the lockdown of the state on Friday instead of 11 pm of Tuesday as ordered by President Buhari.
At a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, Mustapha, who is the chairman of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of the Coronavirus-19 Disease (COVID-19), said that the lockdown by Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Ekiti, and Osun States that has left travellers in agony was illegal.
Prior to the president’s order, some governors had ordered restrictions of movement in their states.
But the SGF who also heads the presidential task force on COVID-19, during a briefing on Monday, said the president’s order was definitive and categorical.
“As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation,” he said.
“All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between federal and state agencies will be eliminated. I referred you to paragraph 29 of the president’s broadcast. We are mindful of the fact that there are those inconsistencies in policies. Such states began to implement their lockdown before the president’s broadcast.
“The president’s broadcast was very definitive and categorical, we are only locking down Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital. Those are the only three designated areas for the lockdown now.”
Mustapha said he would get across to security personnel in states where borders have been shut in order to enlighten them on the directive of the president.
Some travellers had been stranded as a result of closure of borders in some states.
“I will make some calls to some security agencies in those borders. I expected that after Mr. President’s broadcast what should ordinarily happen is that, if you had stopped people from getting to their destinations that broadcast should have enabled you release those people to get to their destinations,” he said.
“You can put proactive measures like a toll gate to ensure that you test them and allow them get to their destinations. That was what we did at the airport before we finally locked down the airport.”
The SGF said the lockdown, as directed by the president, will be systematic, consistent and will be based on best practices.
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