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West Africa

FG directs security agencies to allow free flow of essential commodities

police officer sits on an impounded power bike and interrogates the owner for failing to comply with the sit-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus on Lagos Ibadan expressway, on April 28, 2020. – Nigeria will start easing a coronavirus lockdown covering its largest city Lagos and capital Abuja from May 4, 2020, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said on April 27, 2020. He unveiled new measures including a nationwide night-time curfew, mandatory wearing of facemasks and a ban on non-essential travel between different regions. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Ahead of the ease of the lockdown on May 4, the Federal Government has directed heads of security agencies to instruct their personnel at checkpoints along major highways to comply with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to allow free flow and movement of essential commodities, despite the inter-state movement restriction and curfew within the country.

The directive is a follow-up to Buhari’s address on gradual easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja with additional seven days to assess the level of spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, even as he assured Nigerians that mechanisms were being put in place to ensure that the economy does not suffer any shock, due to the lockdown.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo gave the directive in Abuja, yesterday while receiving the weekly briefing by the ministry’s Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) of the Committee on Sustainable Production/Delivery of Essential Commodities during COVID-19.

Adebayo also revealed that the ministry was already collaborating with research institutes, academic institutions, manufacturers and other stakeholders involved in the manufacturing of local ventilators to fight the dreaded Coronavirus. He said the collaboration would guarantee the availability of local ventilators, which are essential tools in the fight against the pandemic.

The Minister had emphasised the need to observe market protocol, by using face masks and having hand sanitiser, as well as social distancing, among other precautionary measures on approved market days before being allowed into the market for transactions.

“I need to stress that, while there is an undeniable need for markets to be open on some days for people to restock on household supplies, it is most important for the set protocol during the process to be complied with to the letter. The use of face masks and hand sanitiser on market days are non-negotiable to limit the spread of the virus until the scourge blows over,” he said.

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