Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, while stressing that the gradual reopening of Nigeria’s economy will span a total of six weeks, has said the next phase of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown will be stricter.

Boss Mustapha, who made this known on Wednesday during the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the six weeks gradual reopening of the economy would be broken into three tranches of two weeks each.

“In line with Mr President’s directive in paragraph 34 to 41 of his broadcast, the presidential task force has developed sector-specific guidelines. The gradual reopening of the economy will span a total of six weeks, broken into three tranches of two weeks each.

“The first strategy is designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions while strengthening our public health response, which would ultimately reduce the recovery of our current economy and provide succour to the poor and vulnerable.

“To underscore the collaborative efforts with subnational levels of government, they are encouraged to provide leadership in engaging relevant associations responsible for various sectors, e.g., market associations and transport unions, for orderly and effective implementation.

“Similarly, I want to emphasize the need for security agencies to strictly enforce these new measures that have been put in place.

“Following the pronouncement of the President, it has become necessary for me to provide initial clarifications for Nigerians on some of the new measures such as the overnight curfew, inter-State travel and related matters. For the avoidance of doubt, the following clarifications are provided: the overnight curfew is applicable nationwide, inter-State travels are banned, except for the movement of goods, agro-products, petroleum products, essential services, etc, such as directed by Mr President,” Boss Mustapha said.

The SGF further said the technical team of public health experts sent by the PTF to Kano has commenced evaluation of the situation in the State, stressing that fifty trucks of assorted grains have been sent to Kano and that the grains were due for delivery within the next 48 hours.

“In furtherance of tackling the situation in Kano, the technical team of public health experts sent by the PTF has begun the evaluation of the situation in the State, working in collaboration with the State’s Team. I am pleased to also inform you that the operationalization of the laboratories in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and Bayero University Kano, will considerably improve our response to the pandemic in Kano State.

“Additionally, fifty trucks of assorted grains have been sent to Kano and due for delivery within the next 48 hours. The PTF appreciates the cooperation of the Governor and the medical team in Kano State,” he said.

Meanwhile, paragraph 34 to 41 of President Buhari’s address during the 3rd COVID-19 nationwide broadcast reads: “34. We assessed how our children can continue to learn without compromising their health. 35. We reviewed how our farmers can safely plant and harvest in this rainy season to ensure our food security is not compromised. Furthermore, we also discussed how to safely transport food items from rural production areas to industrial processing zones and ultimately, to the key consumption centres. 36. Our goal was to develop implementable policies that will ensure our economy continues to function while still maintaining our aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These same difficult decisions are being faced by leaders around the world.

“37. Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the various Federal Government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have approved a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Monday, 4th May 2020. 38. However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.

“39. Furthermore, new nationwide measures are to be introduced as follows; a. There will be an overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am. This means all movements will be prohibited during this period except for essential services; b. There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travel until further notice; c. Partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers; and d. We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene. Furthermore, the restrictions on social and religious gatherings shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.

“40. For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States shall remain in place until these new ones come into effect on Monday, 4th May 2020. 41. The Presidential Task Force shall provide sector-specific details to allow for preparations by Governments, businesses and institutions”.