Four days into the lockdown order in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States as part of measures to contain the dreaded coronavirus, the Federal Government has appreciated Nigerians for their compliance, sacrifices and urged them to keep up the pace.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while assessing the situation when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum on Thursday in Abuja, expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance by the citizens.
He said: “From the reports we have received, I think, by and large, the people complied.
“When I was coming this morning and I saw that the streets were empty, I asked my aides if there has been any time in the history of Nigeria when the streets of Abuja were so deserted.
“There has never been that time, to the best of my knowledge, not even during elections.”
The minister said the 14-day lockdown was in the interest of the people, their loved ones and Nigerians as a whole, urging them to endure the inconveniences it will cause.
Mohammed said: “We do appreciate the sacrifices people are making, but they must understand why we are doing a lockdown.
“We are doing a lockdown because this disease is an imported one; it is not indigenous to Nigeria
“If we did not do this within 14 days, then at the end of the day, we will be confronted with a bigger problem.”
He said the lockdown is also key to the tracing of those who had contact with index cases, adding that government is deploying technology to achieve it.
Mohammed said with the closure of the airspace, the country had been able to effectively put a stop to those bringing COVID-19 into the country from abroad except those who are coming through the land borders.
He said government would ensure that Nigerian returnees coming through the land borders are quarantined and tested.
The minister appealed to Nigerians in states yet to declare lockdown to stay indoor except when necessary to go out.
He advised them to comply with the directives of social distancing, keeping the basic rules of hygiene and avoiding gatherings so as to defeat the disease.
He said: “Coronavirus is very dangerous and contagious; there is no medicine for it yet and it is not just capable of killing, overwhelming health care system, but it will destroy the economy.
“In some countries, they are putting dead bodies in big refrigerators because the morgues have filled up.
“Nigerians should not forget that this is not the type of corpses that can be claimed for burial because it must be handled by the Ministry of Health.
“It is not a joke; stay at home and stay safe, obey simple instructions of basic hygiene and social distancing, in few weeks, we will resume our normal life.”