President Muhammadu Buhari has exempted banks form the total lockdown order he pronounced on Sunday over the Coronavirus Disease in the country.
The President had in a nationwide broadcast announced a complete lockdown, beginning from 11pm on Monday (today) in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos and Ogun States.
But in a statement they jointly signed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said an exemption for banks had been obtained from President Buhari for the total lockdown.
Ahmed and Emefiele, in the statement on Monday, said they explained the need to keep the financial sector running to get the presidential approval.
In the statement, titled: “Notice to Affected Stakeholders and General Public Regarding COVID-19 and Restrictions in Movement of Persons,” they said: “In light of the devastating effects of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) on many countries around the world, we applaud and appreciate the appropriate and proactive restrictions in personal and vehicular movement directed by President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech of Sunday 29 March 2020.
“These restrictions are critical to significantly reduce the transmission rate of the disease and make it much easier for health professional to trace, test and isolate patients.
“To ensure that Nigerians can still perform online transactions and use ATMs whilst observing these restrictions, we will like to inform the general public and all affected stakeholders that we have obtained exemptions from the President to allow very skeletal operations in the Financial System and Money Markets in order to keep the system in light operations during this time.
“To this end, all relevant staff of affected outfits and agencies should look out for further instructions from their immediate bosses.
“We are mindful of the difficulties these restrictions would bring on ordinary Nigerians and are grateful to the President for approving these exemptions, which should help ease some of these burdens. We urge all Nigerians to be patient, cooperative and united as all hands are on deck to defeat this virus.”