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Coronavirus: Buhari Releases N15b To Tackle Pandemic

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the immediate release of N10b to Lagos State government which remains the epicenter of the Coronavirus, to increase capacity and contain the outbreak.

The President also directed that the sum of N5b be released to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), as special intervention fund, to equip, expand and provide personal for its laboratories across the country

This was contained in a series of statements obtained from the president’s official twitter account @MBuhari on Thursday night.

The President, who listed series of measures his administration has taken in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, said he had also directed that only cargo vessels that have been at sea for more than 14 days be allowed to dock at Nigeria ports after the crew have been tested and confirmed disease-free by the Port Health Authorities.

“This 14-day restriction, he stated, will not apply to vessels carrying oil and gas products as by their nature, there is minimal human contact.

As part of the measures to sustain activities during the period of lockdown, he announced that the Nigerian Air Force is making its fleet available to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, to enable a better coordinated and more effective response across the country.

“To protect our homeland from external exposure, I directed the immediate closure of our International Airports and Land Borders for four weeks in the first instance,

The President who stated that he has been receiving extensive briefings on the state of the nation as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic from the relevant Federal Government agencies, as well as the Lagos State Government, said he directed “ immediate release of a 10 billion Naira grant to Lagos State, which remains the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Nigeria.

The grant, he said, “will enable Lagos to increase its capacity to control and contain the outbreak, while also supporting other States with capacity-building.

“The immediate release of a 5 billion Naira special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country”

He said his administration had put in appropriate policies, processes and infrastructure to cope with suspected and confirmed cases at home, without risking a compounding of the situation with more imported cases.

“The inconvenience caused by these flight and travel restrictions to our fellow citizens abroad who want to return home is regrettable, but it is necessary for the greater good, and I thank you all for your understanding and cooperation.

Following the earlier suspension in the movements, including those of commuter trains to limit the spread of the virus to other parts of the country, President Buhari disclosed that he has “directed the NCDC to draft all its recent retirees back into service to beef up our manpower as we respond to the pandemic.

“Furthermore, all NCDC staff and experts who are away on training or international assignments are to return immediately.

“Already the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is conducting an evacuation mission to bring back some of our specialists in Central Africa, to enable them to support the national response.

He commended the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, “for its financial intervention to support our entrepreneurs and companies as we go through this difficult time.

The government, he said, was also looking at fiscal measures to minimize the negative impact of this pandemic on the livelihood of millions of Nigerians.

“As you are aware, we have begun the process of reviewing the federal budget. We shall communicate our fiscal interventions once the budget review process is concluded.

“In the meantime, I have directed the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, to work with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), to ensure that all production of essential items such as food, medical and pharmaceutical products continues unhindered.”

He announced that his government is also engaging Nigeria’s international friends and partners to share knowledge and to seek their support in our response to the pandemic.

“We are grateful for the show of support thus far – we have already started receiving goods and supplies intended to help us scale up our efforts.,” he said.

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