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Presidential c’ttee mulls gradual easing of lockdown

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By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

THE sub-committee of Economic Sustainability Committee has proposed the easing of the current lockdown in some states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

The committee, Vanguard gathered, is recommending that government implements a gradual unlocking of movement and activities in the affected areas.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had, during a nationwide broadcast on March 28, ordered a complete lockdown for 14 days in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, starting from March 29 as a measure to contain the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The President also extended the lockdown for another 14 days from April 13 as transmission of the virus was said to be spreading to communities and the extension is expected to expire today.

There had been outcry by many Nigerians over the attendant hardship occasioned by the restriction of movements and the shut down of economic activities in virtually every state of the federation.

However, the sub-committee of the Economic Sustainability Committee, led by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has reportedly proposed a gradual easing of the lockdown.

Vanguard reliably gathered that the sub committee will be meeting with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Presidential Economic Advisory Council this week for further consultation.

The committee, which has met four times since it was constituted by President Buhari, is expected to submit its interim report this week.

A source privy to the meeting told Vanguard:  “The Fashola-led sub committee of the Economic Sustainability Committee has proposed the easing of the current lockdown in some states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

‘’They are recommending that government implements a gradual unlocking of movement and activities in the affected areas and to only continue the measures where necessary.’

“The committee is recommending that farmers, who are between the ages of 18 and above should be allowed to commence business and observe social distancing, while those who are 60 years and above are to still remain at home.

“Also recommended to start their businesses are those in agric processing, such as rice and flour mills.

“Others are transporters and eateries but the eateries must be packaged in form of take away. Drinking joints (beer parlours) will not be allowed to resume business.”

Asked whether the committee was planning to allow civil servants resume work, the source said the committee was still studying the situation, especially as some of them are health workers.

“The committee will be meeting with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Presidential Economic Advisory Council this week before it submits the interim report,” the source said.

Recall that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is the Chairman of the Economic Sustainability Committee, met with the sub-committee last week.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said in a statement that the meeting discussed President Buhari’s economic sustainability plan.

Vanguard

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