COVID-19: FG, FCT Administration differ on lockdown order

By Daniel Tyokua

The Federal Government and the Federal Capital Territory Administration took different positions on the sit-at-home order declared by President Muhammadu Buhari eight days ago.

A week ago, President Muhammadu Buhari in a nationwide broadcast ordered residents of Abuja, Ogun and Lagos to stay-at-home for 14 days, as part of efforts to curb the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.

Following the continued public outcry on the lockdown order, the chairman, presidential task force committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation told journalists during one of the briefings that, markets where food stuff are being sold should open from 10am – 2pm.

However the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has directed markets in Abuja to operate three times a week amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Anthony Ogunleye, chief press secretary to Muhammad Bello, FCT minister, said the directive is in line with the guidelines issued by the presidential task force on COVID-19.

He said in a statement in the early hour of Tuesday that, the FCTA resolved to implement the guidelines after a meeting with various security agencies on Monday.

The task force had said while the lockdown to curb the coronavirus spread continues, only shops selling food and groceries can operate between 10am and 2pm on alternate days.

“Markets in Abuja will now operate only three times weekly; that is on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, from 10am to 2pm,” Ogunleye said.

“This means that after the close of market activities on Wednesday, April, 8th, the next market day will be next Saturday 11th, April 2020.

“These are part of measures being employed in addition to other social distancing measures already put in place to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in the FCT.

“Market Managers and the FCT Police Command have been directed to ensure compliance with this directive by monitoring all entry and exit points of the various markets as well as activities of the traders.”

He also asked FCT residents to patronise markets within their neighbourhoods “rather than going to the major markets in distant locations, in order to prevent a possible spread of the virus”.

FCT has 48 of the 238 cases of the coronavirus so far recorded in Nigeria.

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