“The freedoms we ask you to willingly forsake today will only last as long as our scientific advisers declare they are necessary. But they are essential – world over – to halt and defeat the spread of this virus.
These were the words of President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement today, April 11, by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu.
In what looks like a possible extension of lockdown beyond Monday, April 13, the President, said: “we must ask you – once more – to observe restrictions on movement where they are in place, and follow the instructions of our scientists and medical advisers: stay home, wash your hands, save lives.”
“For those who suffer most egregiously, the Government has announced multiple measures to assist: 70,000 tonnes of grain is being released from the National Strategic Grain Reserves for distribution to those in most need; distribution of small cash payments are also being made, and will continue to be made by the federal government in the states and local government areas.
“We ask you to listen and follow public announcements via the mass media for instructions as to how to receive this government support – and learn of more public assistance in the coming days.
“All that the Government is asking you to endure is because nowhere in the world today is there any known way of defeating this pandemic. There is no vaccine. And that means there are choices to be made: between continuing as usual, or accepting the restrictions even when they come with unintended consequences.”
Buhari acknowledged that today, because of the lockdown, Nigerians are unable to visit their parents while elders are isolated from the young ones, “and there are those who live day-to-day, eating as they earn, who face real and present suffering,” but thank the citizens for their patience, resolve and strong determination to defeat the coronavirus disease outbreak.
He said that at this darkest hour, it is the duty of s responsible government to offer the citizens full and unvarnished truth, adding: “this is a global pandemic. 210 countries and territories across the globe are affected. We cannot expect others to come to our assistance. No one is coming to defeat this virus for us.
“Instead, the defeat of the virus in our country will be in our hands, alone. We cannot wait for others. We can only depend on ourselves now. And so we must – and we will – end this outbreak ourselves as Nigerians, together”.