COVID-19: FCT lockdown begins as security agencies enforce order

THE lockdown directive by President Muhammadu Buhari recorded partial compliance on the first day of stay at home order in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

The Presidential directive to lockdown FCT, Ogun and Lagos effective from 11 pm Monday as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic, was on Tuesday enforced by the combined team of security agencies comprising soldier, police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

In the highbrow areas of the capital city, like Maitama, Apo Legislative Quarters, Garki and Wuse, the directive appeared to be effective with the streets completely deserted. However, the story was not the same in the suburbs and satellite towns as some residents move around freely and go about their businesses.

Some of the neighbourhood shops, including beer-parlour in Nyanya, a satellite town of Abuja, opened to customers. Some of the people spoken to said they were not prepared for the lockdown and could not stay at home with a hunger for two weeks.

Okada riders were also fully at work in almost all the suburbs, with some conveying people from Nyanya to A.Y.A in Asokoro, because there no available vehicles to board.

The FCT Ministerial Task Team headed by Mr Attah Ikharo had a hectic time trying to persuade some recalcitrant residents to see reasons why they should stay at home with their families.

While given an update on the enforcement exercise, Ikharo said the major challenge was the satellite towns, especially the boundary point between FCT and Nasarawa, because those from Nasarawa were trying to come into the city on the pretext that they were not affected by the Presidential directive.

According to him, another area where there were some challenges was the boundary between FCT and Suleja in Niger State, which has several roads for people to come into FCT and leave, which have to be manned.

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He said he had gone around and saw some young people playing football in some places in the satellite towns and had to prevail on them to return to their homes and observe the stay at home order.

Ikharo said in enforcing such directives, there are bound to be challenging here and there at the initial day and that in the next two days there would be total compliance.

He advised FCT residents to adhere strictly to the stay at home directive at least for the 14 days, saying this would not only help in curtailing the spread of the pandemic but assist the authorities in contact tracing in order not to allow the virus spread to local communities.

Nigerian Tribune observed that movement into FCT was highly restricted as the police patrol van was used to block the highway into the capital city from Nasarawa State at the boundary checkpoint.

Motorists were not allowed into the city except those who were able to identify themselves on presentation of Identity Card to confirm they are either security personnel or those on essential duties exempted from the stay at home directive.

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