President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security agents manning lockdown Covid-19 lockdown checkpoint across the country to grant passage to vehicles transporting food, pharmaceutical products and other essential commodities.
A press statement issued by the Presidency on Tuesday said that the clarification became necessary in the light of the presidential nationwide broadcast last night, in which additional week of lockdown was proclaimed.
Insisting that Nigerians must eat, Covid-19 or not, the President asked the security agents to allow free movement of essential commodities as long as the truck drivers observe health safety guidelines, wear face masks, have hand sanitisers and tissue papers as well carry no more than three other persons.
According to the statement signed by senior presidential media assistant, Garba Shehu,
“it is essential that attention be drawn to the reported large number of food trucks that are being delayed at various checkpoints around the country or prevented from crossing state borders, as a result of the various curfews and lockdowns in different states.
“The restrictions of movement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic do not apply to vehicles transporting essential commodities, such as food.
“The country cannot afford a situation where agricultural products are being left to rot in trucks held at various checkpoints, when millions of Nigerians across the country need food. COVID-19 or no COVID-19, Nigerians need to eat.
“Other essential items that can be transported despite the ban on movement as prescribed by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) include: pharmaceutical and sanitary supplies, personal care items, agro chemicals and agricultural machinery, electrical products and electronics, oil and gas, courier services, health supplies and protective garments.
“Vehicles transporting essential items must not convey any commercial passengers. In addition, the occupants must not exceed three, i.e. the driver, spare driver, and conductor.
“The drivers must have basic protective and sanitary items, including: face masks, hand sanitisers, and tissue paper to and from their destinations. Once these conditions are satisfied, they must be allowed to travel freely to and from any part of Nigeria.”