By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians must stay at home, listen and follow public announcements on how best to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Buhari who said this in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday.
The president said that the nation could not expect others to come to its rescue.
He said the appeal had become imperative in view of the fact that the virus has no vaccine, and had affected 210 countries worldwide.
He said: “All that Government is asking you to endure is because nowhere in the world today is there any known way of defeating this pandemic.
”There is no vaccine, and that means there are choices to be made: between continuing as usual and accepting the restrictions even when they come with unintended consequences.
“At this darkest hour, it remains our duty to offer you the full and unvarnished truth: This is a global pandemic.
Two hundred and ten countries and territories across the globe are affected. We cannot expect others to come to our assistance. No one is coming to defeat this virus for us.
“Instead, the defeat of the virus in our country will be in our hands, alone. We cannot wait for others. We can only depend on ourselves now.
”So we must, and we will, end this outbreak ourselves as Nigerians together.”
Buhari, however, thanked Nigerians for their patience, resolve and strong determination to defeat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The president said: “We realise that today, there will be sons and daughters unable to visit their parents, and elders that are isolated from young ones.
“There will be those who live day-to-day, eating as they earn, who face real and present suffering.
“No elected government could ask more of the citizens of the country that elected them than today we ask of you.
“But we must ask you – once more – to observe restrictions on movement where they are in place, and follow the instructions of our scientists and medical advisers: stay home, wash your hands, save lives.
“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.”
On the hardship being experienced by a cross section of Nigerians, the president revealed that the Federal Government had announced multiple measures to assist such vulnerable groups.
According to him, 70,000 tonnes of grains is being released from the National Strategic Grain Reserves for distribution to those in most need as small cash payments are also being made to them.
He gave the assurance that such payments would continue to be made by the federal government in the states and local government areas nationwide.
“We ask you to listen and follow public announcements via the mass media for instructions as to how to receive this government support, and learn of more public assistance in the coming days,” he added.