Coronavirus in Nigeria Part 3: States and federal governments preventive & mitigation responses

In Part 3 of our Coronavirus In Nigeria series, we focus on the mitigation and preventive actions of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the various states to the Coronavarious pandemic.

In Part 1 of the series titled Is Nigeria ready for the Coronavirus? + Facts about the novel virus (Updated), we discussed the development of the pandemic from the time when it was first reported in China in late 2009. While there was no doubt some level of preparedness for COVID-19 by Nigeria as questioned in our first article title, this present post shows that there have been notable improvements in responding to the pandemic by the Nigerian government both at the federal and states levels.

In Part 2 of the series titled Coronavirus in Nigeria Part 2: Statistics, trends, reactions and latest updates, we looked at Coronavirus trends and statistics in Nigeria. We also showed the early reactions of the federal government and states as more cases of the infections were recorded. The article is also daily updated as new day data emerge. We highly recommend you use the link to check it out.

This latest post documents government preventive and mitigation responses since our last article on the subject was published. We will show that the strategy has been to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus thus the government’s action has been geared towards containment and limitation of interactions between people. A lot of emphases have been placed on lockdown and stay-at-home directives except for essential services. All the states have also closed their borders but for essential transportation e.g. for food and medical supplies.

In this article, we also present a summary of the various lockdown orders and will be updating it as new information emerges. So make sure to check periodically for the latest update.

Overview of Coronavirus in Nigeria

As of Saturday night, 25th April 2020, there are 1,182 confirmed cases in 27 Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Also, while 222 previously infected individuals have recovered from the infections, 35 patients have died of it.

The distribution of confirmed Coronavirus infections across the states at the time of reporting are as follows:

Abia-2, Abuja (FCT)-138    Akwa Ibom-11, Adamawa-1, Anambra-1, Bauchi-11, Benue-1, Borno-30, Delta-6, Edo-22, Enugu-2, Ekiti-8, Gombe-30, Imo-1, Jigawa-2, Kaduna-10, Kano-77, Katsina-30, Kwara-11, Lagos-689, Niger-2, Ogun-35, Ondo-4, Osun-32, Oyo-18, Rivers-3, Sokoto-2 and Zamfara-2.

States with no confirmed cases are Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba and Yobe.

Coronavirus testing facilities

The availability of widescale testing is a key factor in Coronavirus pandemic response. On this end, Nigeria has limited capacity, which can negatively impact the country’s response to the pandemic.

On 30th March 2020, the suspected cases that Nigeria was tracing, rose to 6,000 but by 2nd April 2020, the government claimed to have identified about 6,700 contacts. They added that there was a total of eight testing labs in the country.

However, by 10th April 2020, Nigeria announced that they have identified about 8,932 people of interest and monitoring 220. Also, on 13 April 2020, the government claimed to have increased testing by 50%, to a current capacity of 1,500 tests per day. The government also announced that there are a total of eleven testing labs spread across the country.

On the other hand, the Lagos State government said on 14th April 2020, that their officials had visited 118,000 households in two days, identifying 119 persons with the symptoms of the virus in the state.

By 15th April 2020, the Nigerian government announced that they have upgraded testing capacity of 3,000 persons per day. It added that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had 12 testing labs located in eight states.

Some of the Nigerian states that have coronavirus testing capacities include Lagos, Osun, Edo, Oyo, Borno, Kano, Kaduna States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Federal Government recent reactions

On 26th March, the Federal Government of Nigeria ordered the immediate closure of international airports and land borders in the country for a period of four weeks. And by 29th March, the movements of all passenger aircraft all over the country, including commercial and private jets were suspended.

On 29th March, following more coronavirus cases, the Federal Government announced a lockdown of Lagos State, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, for a period of two weeks. The lockdown took effect from 11 pm Monday, 30th March 2020 in the named areas. Lagos State and Abuja were the most hit state at the time but Ogun was included due to its proximity to Lagos and the common interactions between the two states.

The lockdown directive directed all citizens in the areas to stay at homes and banned travel in and out of the states as well. However, because of their importance, hospitals, food processing, petroleum distribution, banks, power generation and private security companies were allowed to stay open.

In addition, the government exempted people who worked in telecommunication, broadcasting, printing and electronic media companies to go to work.

By 13th April, just as the initial lockdown period was about to elapse, the Federal government extended the lockdown of Lagos State, Ogun State and the FCT, for another two weeks from 11 pm.

On 16th April 2020, Reuters reports that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) claimed security forces had killed at least 18 people in Nigeria during the enforcement of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The account adds: “The Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army did not respond to phone calls seeking comment on the NHRC statement.”

The federal government of Nigeria on 20th April 2020, extended the closure of airports for another 2 weeks.

On 21st April 2020, the government issued an apology after it broke lockdown and Coronavirus safety protocols by holding a burial ceremony for Abba Kyari, the chief of staff to the president. Abba Kyari died in Lagos on Friday 17th April 2020 from Coronavirus complications and was buried in Abuja on Saturday, 18 April 2020.

Abba Kyari burial coronavirus update statistics
Abba Kyari burial had raised issues regarding coronavirus protocols.

 

According to an All Africa report, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha, and the national coordinator on COVID- 19, Dr Sani Aliyu, who issued the apology at a press conference in Abuja.

Nigeria states governments recent reactions

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Nigeria and its incessant spreading ability, State governments and the Federal government sought to contain the spread by enforcing wide-reaching lockdown policies. These policies are aimed at ensuring that more people do not contract the virus and that infected ones do not spread it.

For more coverage on this story, read: #Coronavirus: Governors of 36 states agree to go on 14-day inter-state lockdow

Summary of lockdown status across Nigerian states and Abuja 

Below is a table that quickly summarises the lockdown initiatives across all states in Nigeria.

[table id=StatesLockdown /]

Timeline of states lockdown directives

25th March

In Abia State, the government banned all ceremonies that hosted more than 30 guests. In the same vein, it banned religious activities of more than 50 persons for 30 days.

The Bauchi State government said all markets will be closed from 26th March unless it was to sell essential commodities like food items and medicine.

The Delta State Government announced the closure of its borders, halting movement in and out of the state for two weeks. The airport in Asaba was to be closed on 27th March while land borders were to close from 29th March. It announced that malls, supermarkets, markets and shops will be closed on 1st April.

To cater for essentials, the government directed that food sellers work from home. All residents were also advised to stay at home from 1st April. However, providers of essential services like security, healthcare, pharmacies, water services, fire services, power services, essential departments of media houses and telecommunications companies were exempted.

The Ekiti State Government also banned markets’ operations and exempted those selling essential commodities like food items, water, medicine and medical equipment.

The Imo State Government announced that all its major markets will be closed from 28th March. Its land borders were also to be closed and entry was allowed only after mandatory screening.

The Kwara State Government placed a ban on commercial transportation, closed all religious and commercial buildings and exempted those selling essential commodities like food items, water, medicine and medical equipment.

The Kogi State government also announced the closure of all its borders in and out of the State. In addition, it suspended all commercial motorcycle activities in the state with effect from 26th March. All public gatherings of more than five people became illegal.

In Kano State, the authorities announced that they will close air and land borders into and out of the state starting from 27th March 2020.

The Rivers State Government announced an indefinite closure of their sea, air and land borders with effect from 26th March 2020.

26th March

The Akwa Ibom State government announced the closing of the state borders and exempted food items transportation from the constraint. It asked all state government workers to stay at home for a week beginning on 30th March.

In addition, the government announced that its state-owned airline, Ibom Air, will suspend all flight operations from 29th March.

Meanwhile, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration directed all business and commercial activities in the region to take place between 9 pm and 6 am. This was before the president imposed a complete lockdown on FCT starting 30th March 2020.

The Ebonyi State Government announced that it will close the state borders from 28th March. Only vehicles transporting food items, construction materials, medical supplies and patients going for treatment will be allowed to leave or enter.

The Jigawa State Government said that all its borders will be closed from 27th March.

The Kaduna State Government puts a curfew in place from dusk to dawn and directed everyone to stay at homes unless they are essential services providers. It also directed all businesses, offices and places of worship to close. Ceremonies and social gatherings were, likewise, banned.

In Sokoto State, the government announced the closing of state borders for two weeks beginning on 27th March. Only, vehicles transporting food and essential medical commodities were allowed to be on the road.

27th March

The Bayelsa State Government announced the closing its sea and land borders with immediate effect.

In Enugu State, the government announced an indefinite closure of the state borders and inter-state transportation from 31st March. It would only allow medical emergency services’ transportations.

The Katsina State Government announced the closing of its borders from 28th March and said only fuel takers and vehicles conveying food items and other essential commodities will be allowed to enter the state. However, they were to undergo mandatory screening and testing at the point of entry.

The Osun State Government announced the closing of its borders from 28th March. All major markets and shopping malls were closed except pharmaceutical, foods and medical shops and offices.

The Oyo State Government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew and banned inter-state travel unless a vehicle transports food items, medical, pharmaceutical and petroleum products. This was to take effect from 29th March. All markets except those selling perishable food items were to be closed from that same date.

The Nasarawa State Government banned all social and religious gatherings of more than 50 persons with immediate effect. It also announced a restriction of movement within the state.

The Niger State Government banned intra and inter-state movement of people and vehicles, exempting only vehicles carrying food items, fuel, medical supplies and other essential services.

The Zamfara State Government announced the closing of the state borders starting from 28th March.

28th March

The Abia State Government announced four-weeks borders and markets closure beginning from 1st April. It asked ts residents to stay at home and allowed only food sellers to operate.

The Anambra State Government announced the closure of its 63 major markets from 31st March, for two weeks at the time, allowing only food items and medicine markets.

The Cross River State Government banned all gatherings of more than five persons.

The Imo State Government announced an indefinite ban on all social gatherings and ceremonies with immediate effect. It also directed all civil and public servants to stop work immediately, except they were on approved essential services.

The Kebbi State Government announced that it was restricting all entries in and out of the state with immediate effect.

The Taraba State Government said it will close its borders effective from 29th March.

The Ogun State Government closed its borders for two weeks at the time and it was to start from 29th March. It allowed essential service providers like security agencies, health workers, food, medical items and petroleum products to move. Ogun State was one of the states that are also under the Federal Government-mandated lockdown.

29th March

The Anambra State Government announced closing the River Niger Bridge with immediate effect, exempting only vehicles carrying food items and medical supplies.

The Ekiti State Government put a curfew in place from dusk to dawn and closed the state borders for fourteen days, exempting only vehicles carrying food items, medical, petroleum products and other essential goods. These measures took effect on 30th March.

The government also ordered residents to stay at home unless they provided essential services. Furthermore, all businesses, offices and places of worship were directed to close.

In Osun State, the government announced a total lockdown of their state from 31st March and banned the movement of individuals. It exempted essential service providers like health personnel, fire service, security personnel, environmental officials, power and water supply agencies, media and telecommunication officers. In addition, it allowed pharmaceutical and medical outlets to operate.

30th March

The Adamawa State Government announced the closure of the state borders for 14 days starting from 31 March 2020, ordering a total lockdown in the state. It added that the ban affects tricycle, taxis and bus operators throughout the state. It also banned social activities and ordered all markets to be closed, exempting the following: food markets, medicine markets and filling stations. Banks were directed to provided only skeletal services.

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Ogun State moved its lockdown commencement date from 30th March to 3rd April, following a state government request to the federal government to allow them to provide food for their residents.

31st March

The Bauchi State Government announced the closing of its state borders for 14 days from 2 April and announced a complete lockdown of the state with the exemption of essential services providers.

The Bayelsa State government reviewed the earlier closure of state borders directive and exempted vehicles transporting food, drugs and those conveying personnel on essential duty.

In reviewing the earlier announced closure of borders and restriction of movement, Delta State government announced that those involved in the transportation of essential supplies such as food, water, petroleum products, pharmaceutical products and other essential services are exempted. Banks were directed to provided only skeletal services.

The Kwara State Government announced the closure of the state’s borders with immediate effect and exempted the following vehicles from the measure: those carrying agricultural produce, medical equipment and officials on essential duties.

1st April

The Taraba State Government announced a ban on all public gatherings of more than 20 persons in the state.

It also directed that all markets be closed with immediate effect, with the exception of those providing essential services such as pharmacies, food stores and petrol service stations.

The Ondo State Government announced that its state borders be closed starting from 2nd April.

2nd April

The Bauchi State Government reversed the total lockdown that it had put in place in the state.

The Akwa Ibom State Government announced the beginning of an indefinite lockdown of the state. It asked residents to stay at home and closed all business premises, markets, shops, motor parks and offices. Only grocery shops, pharmacies and those providing essential services were allowed to remain open.

5th April

In Niger State, the government relaxed its restriction order and only restricted movement from 2 pm to 10 pm while allowing movement from 8 am to 2 pm daily.

7th April

The Jigawa State Government announced a complete lockdown for 14 days. Movement in and out the states remain restricted. Healthcare providers were exempted and non-essential businesses closed. However,  food, petroleum, electricity, and private security businesses are exempted.

9th April

The Kwara State Government announced a complete lockdown for 14 days starting on 10th April. However, it exempted vehicles carrying goods and services. Also, markets selling foods and medications were allowed to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, between 10 am and 2 pm.

11th April

The Anambra State Government announced the commencement of a complete lockdown for 14 days. It asked residents to stay at home and only those on essential services were allowed unrestricted movement.

Also, the Niger State Government said its lockdown will begin from 13th April but adds that it will not affect those providing essential services.

13th April

Ekiti State government extends state lockdown for another 14 days.

14th April

Delta and Osun states governments extend the lockdown in their respective states for another 14 days.

Meanwhile, the Kano State Government announced that a total lockdown of the state for seven days will start from 16 April. It added that all residents were to stay at home and markets, places of worship and public gathering spots were closed. The government had hinted at relaxing the lockdown for the Ramadan shopping on 24th April but insisted that it was not lifting the lockdown completely.

20th April

Borno State government announces a lockdown for 14 days that will start from 22nd April. It said that movement will be restricted and it also placed a ban on public gatherings. However, those providing essential services were exempt from these measures.

21st April

The Taraba State Government announces that it will commence a complete lockdown exercise from 22nd April. It added that the movement of both individuals and vehicles will be restricted. Only people and businesses providing essential duties like health workers, pharmaceutical shops, fuel stations and media houses were exempt from the measure.

22nd April

Nigerian Governors agree to ban inter-state travels

The governors of the 36 states of Nigeria agreed to observe two weeks inter-state lockdown. Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State chaired the meeting which was the sixth teleconference meeting of the governors. They all also agreed that all Nigerian states must work together to battle this coronavirus pandemic.

The Gombe State Government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew across the entire State from 6 pm 7 am effective Thursday,  23rd April 2020. It also suspended all markets and business activities involving the interaction of more than 2 persons. Essential food and medical supplies are, however, exempted.

Conclusion

It is conceivably that the lockdown directives have contributed to the slow spread of Coronavirus infection in the country. However, recent spikes in the number of confirmed cases are cause for worry. This is especially so in Lagos with millions of people living in slums and in poor environmental conditions. Lagos is also the epicentre of the disease and accounts for more than half of all confirmed cases.

The Lagos State government has been very proactive in its response to Coronavirus. However, it faces a tough question when the present lockdown directive elapses on Monday 27 April 2020. Will it relax the lockdown or extend it further?

Indeed, this is a question that every state government that has imposed a lockdown will eventually have to answer.

And with the majority of Nigerians living below the poverty line and depending on daily income to survive, how much longer can the citizens continue to abide by the lockdown order?

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About The Author

Obinna

Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.

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