The Federal Government on Thursday urged Nigerians to disregard the news circulating on the social media that it was contemplating another lockdown.
This followed the fresh circulation of an old statement by the Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu.
The statement was issued by Aliyu on April 22, 2020, before the first lockdown approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Reacting to the development, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, in a statement signed by Willie Bassey, Director Information in his office, urged Nigerians to disregard the fresh lockdown statement.
Mustapha also advised Nigerians to join hands with the Federal Government to contain the spread of the virus by adhering to Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions as recommended by PTF.
He said: “The attention of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has been drawn to some misinformation circulating on the social media to the effect that the Federal Government is contemplating another lockdown this weekend.
“The PTF wishes to state categorically that there is no such consideration at any of its meetings, nor has any recommendation been made to this effect to the President.
“The PTF frowns at such unpatriotic misinformation which is capable of causing unnecessary panic and anxiety among the populace.”
The April 22, 2020 statement by Aliyu had said: “We just ended another meeting of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. Today marked the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Taskforce National Pandemic Response Centre. I think it is important to let us know that the country is about to witness turbulent times induced by the pandemic coronavirus. We may soon be hard hit. The reason for this is that, we, I mean the Nigerian Government, delayed in taking proactive action at the onset.
“However, I can assure us that the government is serious about taking necessary steps to curtail the level of casualties. Well coordinated measures are about to be put in place from a broad, diverse spectrum. All the necessary Working Groups have been inaugurated today. International bodies such as WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, CDC, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the private sector, civil society groups are partnering the Taskforce, providing technical and financial assistance and support. Donations are quite streaming in. From Global Fund we got $33m, another $3.3m came from another body I cannot give the name immediately. Max Air donated $200,000, the Chinese firm, Huawei, doled out #100m. There are a number of other handsome donations. We have been holding these meetings with some foreign experts. In the next few days, more concrete action will become manifest. All relevant institutions are being mobilized for action to tackle the scourge. The taskforce is also galvanizing the State Governments to ensure their is effective collaboration and cooperation.
“More importantly, the purpose of this message is to give us the privileged information that a complete lockdown of the country is imminent. Soon, very soon, perhaps, this weekend, this will take effect and may last for at least 14 days. Therefore, I advise us to immediately make adequate arrangements for our families. Thank you and may God Almighty help Nigeria and Nigerians in these trying moments. Remain blessed.”