Tension Unravels as Coronavirus Spreads Across Nigeria as Churches, Schools & Public Institutions Shut Down
Nigeria is gradually shutting down public institutions as Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19 continues to spread across different States in the country.
Although some states have claimed that there are no identified cases of the virus, experts believe that Nigeria lacks the sophistication and the know-how to track the disease, even as there are fears that continuous spreading could result in many deaths due to poor medical facilities.
Consequently, some states have been forced to close down both public and privates schools, including churches and public gatherings.
The government of Ogun State took the hard decision of shutting down the public, private schools and crowded public worship centers to stop further spread of the virus.
The Governor, Dapo Abiodun-led government banned all high-density gatherings in the State starting from today, Friday, March 20.
The ban on high-density gatherings affects all schools, whether public or private, as well as all religious activities in the State.
Consequently, the government said, “all schools in the State will remain closed indefinitely after school hours on Friday, March, 20th, 2020.”
It added that “all religious centers and activities including regular and special services that bring together 50 or more persons in the same place are banned with immediate effect.”
Also, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State government has shut down all large gatherings. The government swung into action after four new cases of COVID-19 were discovered on Wednesday.
The State government announced a ban on all religious gatherings involving over 50 worshippers.
The Government took the decision in agreement with religious leaders in the State.
Though no case of the disease has been officially announced in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, yesterday shut down public and private schools.
The FCTA announced that all schools in Abuja will shut down starting from Friday 20th, March 2020 as a preventive measure taken to avoid the spread of the pandemic which has affected 27 African countries and killed over 6,500 people.
The administration warned that schools and their students should adhere to the instruction and remain at home until further notice.
Although no case of the virus has been identified in Abuja, there are unconfirmed reports of suspected cases in some hospitals in the capital city. Analysts have blamed the FCTA administration of allegedly concealing cases.
The FCTA’s action was followed swiftly by that of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education, which announced shutting down of public schools nationwide.
The government ordered the closure of all the 104 Unity Schools in the country from March 26 in order to prevent further spread of the dreaded Coronavirus.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono who gave the order through the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said all the Principals of the Unity Colleges should fast track the ongoing second term examinations and close shop until further notice.
This was announced in a statement by Mr. Ben Goong, Director, Press and Public Relations in Abuja, on Thursday.
The Minister said, “the management of all the Unity Colleges should immediately activate the necessary emergency procedures and processes such as the provision of alcohol-based sanitizers and handwashing facilities among others.
“Students should strictly adhere to the principles and best practices of good hygiene.
The Federal Government has also shut down three international airports namely Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
A statement signed by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said, the decision was part of its strategic measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus across the country.
Nuhu said the three airports would be closed till further notice effective Saturday, March 21.
He, however, added that the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos would still be opened but no flight operations will be allowed from the thirteen COVID-19 (Coronavirus) high-risk countries.
The Federal Government is also expected to join countries such as Ghana and some States in the country in banning high-density gatherings as Coronavirus shuts down Nigeria.
Some leading religious bodies and churches have already instructed worshippers to adhere to and respect the government’s instructions regarding the ban.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, on Wednesday, advised members on strict adherence to government directives.
Following the spread of COVID-19, the Nigeria Senate has banned all public hearings and students' excursions to the Senate galleries.
Other legislative activities that would attract a sizeable number of people have been restricted for now.
Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan made the announcements on Thursday.