In leaked memo, Nigerian governors ask Buhari to expand COVID-19 lockdown to include face masks, free internal movement, overnight curfews and inter-state movement ban

In a confidential memo on Friday, Nigerian governors asked President Muhammadu Buhari to modify the current presidential lockdown aims to defeat the novel coronavirus in Africa’s most populous nation.

The chairman of the Nigerian governors’ forum, John Kayode Fayemi, who is the governor of Ekiti state, addressed the memo to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

In the memo, the governors urged President Buhari to incorporate into his presidential pronouncements five additions to the lockdown that did not include how to rescue suffering Nigerians from hardship, hunger and poverty.

The governors urged Buhari to approve:

  1. Inter-state lockdown excluding movement of essential supplies – food, beverages, medical and pharmaceuticals, petroleum supplies and agricultural products
  2. Internal free movement but with restrictions on large gatherings and assemblies
  3. Overnight curfews
  4. lockdown of flights
  5. compulsory use of face masks/coverings in public

Last Wednesday, all the 36 governors in Nigeria agreed to implement a 14-day nationwide shutdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Africa’s most populous nation.

The governors agreed to implement an inter-state lockdown over the next two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19 from state to state.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Most people who catch it survive but for the minority of people, especially those with underlying medical conditions or suffering from obesity, it can be deadly as it attacks the lungs and forces patients to be intubated, meaning they find it hard to breathe on their own and need a ventilator to help them breathe.

The New York Times, quoting the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there are only about 2000 functioning ventilators in Africa to serve 1.2 billion people.

The solution, WHO has repeatedly said, is containment and not mitigation that can lead to the need of many ventilators.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the body representing Nigerian governors, said it reached the agreement to lockdown the country after receiving briefings from the governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Oyo and Ogun states who shared their experiences and lessons from the fight against COVID-19.

The NGF chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, said in a communique released at the end of the sixth COVID-19 teleconference meeting that only essential services would be permitted during the lockdown.

The communique quoted the governors as calling for the decentralization of the COVID-19 response, saying that it was the best chance to beat the respiratory disease that has now spread to 25 of 36 Nigerian states.

Members of the NGF also voiced serious concern over the rising spread of the virus among health workers and resolved to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that health workers are “adequately” provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and are “constantly” trained on the use of protective gears.

This followed an update from the NGF Secretariat on the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Governors also resolved to set up COVID-19 committees at the regional level, headed by their State Commissioners of Health in order to strengthen coordinated implementation of necessary public health recommendations across States. Regional committees, the communique added, will continue to interface with the State Task Force Committees on COVID-19 already established in each State.


The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nigeria has skyrocketed above 1000, after 114 new infections were reported by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday.

At least 32 people have died from the deadly bug in Nigeria, including the defacto President, Abba Kyari, the late chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“As at 11:30 pm 24th April there are 1095 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. Discharged: 208. Deaths: 32,” NCDC tweeted.

As at 11:30 pm 24th April:

Akwa Ibom-11
Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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