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Nigeria Extends Lockdown in Major Cities for Two Weeks

Buhari State of the Nation address on the coronavirus lockdown
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The President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari has announced a 14-day extension to the lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

In a televised address on Sunday Night, Buhari said “it has become necessary to extend the current restriction of movement” that was set to expire on Monday. The Initial 14-day lockdowns in the three areas began on March 30. 

There are currently 323 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria. 71 percent of these cases are registered in Lagos and the capital territory of Abuja. Ten people have died so far.

“It is a matter of life and death,” Buhari said of the nation’s response. “The repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable.” 

Nigeria Lockdown breeds Economic hardship

Nigeria, with 200 million people, is Africa’s most populous nation. Some 20 million reside in the megacity of Lagos.

Related: Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency to Fight Coronavirus

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Health experts have raised alarms over the impact of a major coronavirus outbreak. There are warnings that the country’s unprepared and underfunded healthcare system could quickly become overwhelmed.

The extension of the lockdown is expected to add to the hardship of millions of Nigerians living hand-to-mouth, often on less than one dollar a day.

In his statement, Buhari acknowledges the difficulties experienced especially by those who earn a daily wage. But says that despite these realities, the restrictions must continue.

The government has pledged a series of support measures to ease the financial pain for the most vulnerable, but there have been widespread complaints that not enough is being done for those facing hunger.

Meanwhile, police said on Monday that they were bolstering forces in Lagos and Ogun. Almost 200 suspects have been arrested amid fears of a spike in crime during the lockdown.

Buhari said compliance with the stay-at-home order and other restrictions introduced by state governors across the country has been “generally good”. But he cautioned that “a large proportion of new infections are now occurring in communities”.