The federal government has said that the lockdown of some states and the closure of their borders by their respective governors over COVID-19 is illegal.
In reaction to reports of Nigerians being trapped in the border communities of some states because of the closure of the borders by the governor, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said that the lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday to stop the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic only affected the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States.
At a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, Mustapha, who is the chairman of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of the Coronavirus-19 Disease (COVID-19), said that the lockdown by Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Ekiti, and Osun States that has left travellers in agony was illegal.
Mustapha explained that President Buhari’s broadcast was very definitive and categorical, stressing that only Lagos, Ogun and the FCT are to be locked down.
He said: “As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between federal and state agencies will be eliminated.
“I referred you to paragraph 29 of the president’s broadcast. We are mindful of the fact that there are those inconsistencies in policies. Such states began to implement their lockdown before the president’s broadcast.
The president’s broadcast was very definitive and categorical, we are only locking down Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital. Those are the only three designated areas for the lockdown now.
“I will make some calls to some security agencies in those borders. I expected that after Mr. President’s broadcast what should ordinarily happen is that, if you had stopped people from getting to their destinations that broadcast should have enabled you release those people to get to their destinations.
“You can put proactive measures like a toll gate to ensure that you test them and allow them get to their destinations. That was what we did at the airports before we finally locked down the airports.
“This lockdown like the president said in paragraph 29 of the national broadcast will be systematic, consistent and will be based on best practices,” he said.