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Police, Lagos say COVID-19 lockdown in force at Easter celebrations

The Nigeria Police Officers on Patrol File Photo

* Lagos instituted Incident Command Structure ahead of index case ─Prof. Abayomi

* Only Federal Government possesses powers to relax restrictions ─Commissioner
Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect
Contrary to widespread insinuations in certain quarters, especially unverified information on social media platforms that authorities may have relaxed the ongoing lockdown during Easter celebrations, the Nigeria Police has advised Nigerians not to defy the Coronavirus prevention of staying-at-home and social distancing during Easter celebrations.

Mr. Mohammed Adamu, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), in a statement Thursday, April 9, 2020, said all preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 by states and the Federal Government are still in effect regardless of events.

Accordingly, Mr. Adamu has directed the Commissioners of Police in states of the Federation where the social restriction orders have been emplaced to continue with the due enforcement of the orders.

The Inspector-General of Police urged religious leaders in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, FCT, as well as other states affected by the restriction orders in Nigeria to continue to cooperate with relevant government agencies.

They should use their leadership positions to encourage worshippers to observe prayers and worship programmes in the confines of their homes, Adamu stated.

According to him, strict adherence to the restrictions is necessary in order to curb “community spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which has immensely challenged humanity across all spheres of life.”

He expressed concerns it is the exigent circumstances that have compelled the Police to emplace restrictions on social gatherings, which inevitably is also affecting religious programmes of all faiths.

Adamu, therefore, encouraged Nigerians to understand the current restrictions in the “light of the symbolism of Easter which connotes sacrifice, tolerance, perseverance, love and ultimate triumph.”

The police will remain steadfast and committed in the duty of ensuring public safety and security during the Easter period and beyond.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government (LASG) has also clarified that it has not lifted ban on movement restrictions across the state.

The state government has refuted rumours making the rounds that it had lifted the ban on movement restrictions in the state.

Such a directive could only be at the Federal Government’s discretion, LASG declared.

Mr Gbenga Omotoso, Lagos State Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, at the COVID-19 inter-ministerial briefing, in Lagos, Thursday, April 9, said the state did not possess such powers to relax the restrictions since they were imposed at the instance of the Federal Government.

“I want to take this opportunity to tell residents that the directive on total lockdown of the state, is still on.

“It has not been rescinded by the state government.

“The state government does not have such powers, since it is the Federal Government that pronounced the lockdown in the first place.

“So, if the ban is going to be lifted, such an announcement would surely come from the state government,” Mr. Omotoso said.

The Commissioner explained that the inter-ministerial briefing, held at the instance of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor, was designed to update residents on the efforts of the various ministries of government in the fight against the spread of the virus.

“It is meant to assure Lagosians that despite the threat posed by the pandemic, the people, saddled with the task of running the affairs of the state, have not stopped working.

“Besides reassuring Lagosians that the state is on top of this situation, it is also an opportunity to let the public know of the state government’s programmes, now and after we must have seen the back of the pandemic,” he added.

Prof. Akin Abayomi, Honourable Commissioner for Health, has assured Lagos residents that the state is on course in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

“Since five years ago, we knew an incident such as this would happen. The only thing is that we didn’t know when.

“The Ebola incident, then, taught us some lessons, since it revealed our areas of strength and those areas that needed to be strengthened.

“That was why we had already instituted the Incident Command Structure, concerning the pandemic, even before the first case was recorded in Lagos,” he said.

Additional reports by Emmanuel Akosile and Gbenga Kayode

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