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COVID-19: Anxiety, panic with 24 hours to end of lockdown as Buhari plots extension

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COVID-19: Anxiety, panic with 24 hours to end of lockdown as Buhari plots extension

With about 24 hours left to the end of the 14-day lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari in three Nigerian states of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, most Nigerians remain anxious about an almost inevitable extension.

Everything points to a possible extension.

When Buhari gave the stay-at-home order on March 29, Nigeria had only 111 cases. As at Sunday morning, there were officially 318 cases.

The president gave the clearest hint of more days on Saturday.

In a statement signed by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, he said: “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.”

Similarly, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had Friday, hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari may extend the 14-day lockdown imposed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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He said, ”The decision on whether to extend the lockdown or not is exclusively the decision or responsibility of the President. Ours (the PTF) is to provide him with first-hand information that would inform that decision. So, I cannot speculate on that now. But looking at what is happening in other climes, you would be able to deduce what might likely happen, but I’m not in a position to speculate on that.”

Although, Buhari promised relief materials in the same statement, Nigerians remain apprehensive about the economic implications of an extension.

In the last 13 days, companies have shut down, jobs lost, prices of essential commodities shot up and crime rate increased.

If the lockdown is extended by a week or two, one can only imagine the chaos that will engulf certain parts of the country.

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