By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to provide relief materials to residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods would be affected by measures introduced to combat Coronavirus.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president had on Sunday directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from Monday to check the spread of Coronavirus disease.
Buhari, who made the pledge in a nationwide broadcast on Sunday, said the relief materials would be deployed in the coming weeks to ease the hardships of the residents of the affected areas.
He said: ”Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with State Governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding programme during this period without compromising our social distancing policies.
”The Minister will be contacting the affected States and agree on detailed next steps.”
The President also directed that a three month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.
He also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.
”For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.
”For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks,” he added.
The president called on all Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.
He enjoined all citizens to pray for the best possible outcome, as the government would continue planning for all eventualities.
He revealed that he had since directed that all Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrims camps and other facilities be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.
”My fellow Nigerians, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to do whatever it takes to confront COVID-19 in our country,” he said.