President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a gradual easing of lockdown measures in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

The three locations had been put on lockdown since March 30, 2020 as part of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease that has infected over 3 million people across the world.

While speaking during a national address on Monday, April 27, Buhari lamented that the lockdown measures have had heavy economic consequences with many losing their means of livelihood.

“No country can afford the full impact of a sustained lockdown while awaiting the development of vaccines,” he said.

The president said the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and FCT will continue till Monday, May 4 when a phased easing will commence.

He has now imposed new measures that will apply nationwide; chief among them is the mandatory use of face masks in public, in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene.

“State governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens,” Buhari appealed.

Four Nigerian states remain unaffected by coronavirus after two months, as of April 26 [NCDC]Four Nigerian states remain unaffected by coronavirus after two months, as of April 26 [NCDC]

Buhari also said there will be an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am when all movements will be prohibited except for essential services.

The president also placed a ban on interstate passenger travel until further notice. However partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers.

The restrictions on social and religious gatherings will also remain in place, according to the president.

The president assured Nigerians the government will continue to work on developing policies that will ensure the economy continues to function while still maintaining an aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari said the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 will provide specific details to allow for preparations by governments, businesses and institutions.

He also noted that state governors may choose to adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances provided they maintain alignment with the Federal Government’s guidelines.

Nigeria has recorded 1,273 coronavirus cases in 32 states and the FCT, as of April 26.