The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Monday, insisted that the Federal Government has no plan to impose a fresh lockdown on Nigeria as the country battles the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mohammed, who spoke at a conference in Lagos, however, appealed to Nigerians to adhere to all protocols outlined by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The minister said, “On the issue of lockdown, I don’t think there is any time when the Federal Government has said it is going to have a second lockdown. However, the Federal Government is very unhappy that Nigerians are not adhering to the basic Covid-19 protocols of wearing face masks, or practicising social distancing, of washing hands, of ensuring that they do gather in large numbers.
“If we do not do these, the surge will continue and with the new strain of Covid-19 which is becoming much more difficult to handle than the old strain, the Federal Government will continue to insist and encourage Nigerians to please obey the Covid-19 protocols.
“The Federal Government is aware of the economic and social implications of a second lockdown but we want to call on Nigerians to help us, help themselves and help the economy, by adhering strictly to the Covid-19 protocols.”
The Federal Government had in March 2020 locked down the Federal Capital Territory as well as Lagos and Ogun States for over five weeks as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic. The lockdown had a tremendous effect on economic activities with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry putting the loss at about N3bn in the period under review.
Many jobs were also lost as airlines, hotels, banks, amongst others cut their workforce due to the crushing effect of the lockdown.