Nigerian’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will address Nigerians at 8 pm today (Monday).
Personal Assistant on New Media to the President, Bashir Ahmad, made this known via a tweet.
He tweeted, “Buhari will address the nation later today, at 8:00 pm. Television, radio, and other electronic media stations are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the NTA and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria respectively for the broadcast.”
The President had on March 29 imposed a 14-day lockdown on the FCT and the two states to contain the spread of the virus. At the end of the 14 days, which terminated on April 13, the President extended the lockdown by another 14 days, saying the pandemic had become a matter of life and death and that it was no longer a joke.
However, barely a day to the end of the extension, stakeholders have disagreed on whether the President should extend the lockdown or ease it.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, had maintained that only the President could decide on whether there would be an extension of the lockdown or it would be lifted.
As of April 13 when the President extended the lockdown, the number of cases was 343 in 19 states and the FCT. The number of deaths was 10 while 91 persons had been discharged. But, as of today (Monday), there are 1273 confirmed cases of #COVID-19 reported in Nigeria; 239 recoveries and 40 deaths.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said on Sunday that the state had yet to reach its COVID-19 peak despite recording the highest case so far.
He had also warned on March 27 that the state might see up to 39,000 cases but that if everyone practised good social distancing, the figure would be limited to 13,000.
During the week, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chike Ihekweazu, had also hinted that the virus would eventually spread to all the 36 states.
“There is no reason why it won’t (extend to every state in Nigeria), it is a respiratory virus,” he added.
The DG also said on Tuesday that the President would make tougher decisions in the coming week on measures to contain the spread of the virus.
“Next week, Mr President will make some very difficult decisions for the country in terms of the lockdown in three states but also across the country in different ways,” he added.
Already, there is increasing tension and impatience among people in the affected states and the FCT over the possibility that the lockdown might be extended.
A cross-section of Nigerians, who spoke to Sunday PUNCH, lamented that they were eager to go back to work, adding that staying at home for a month had become traumatising.