Acting on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control ("NCDC"), the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria issued the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 ("the Regulation") on 30th March 2020. The Regulation declared the severe respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 ("COVID-19") a dangerous infectious disease and set out guidelines for the operation of the restrictions earlier announced.
The Regulation was issued in exercise of powers conferred on the President by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act 2004,2 and was effective for an initial period of 14 days that elapsed on 13th April 2020. Noting the continuous spread of the disease, the President issued the COVID-19 Regulations No. 2 of 2020 on 13th April 2020, extending the restrictions placed by the Regulation for a further period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on 13th April 2020.
Restriction of Movement in Lagos State, Ogun State, and the Federal Capital Territory:
Citizens in Lagos State, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory ("FCT") were mandated to stay at home from the effective date. All businesses are to be fully closed except the following establishments:
- Hospitals and all related medical establishments, as well as, organisations in healthcare related manufacturing and distribution;
- Commercial establishments, such as food processing, distribution and retail companies, petroleum distribution and retail entities; power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies;
- Urgent, essential or time bound court matters;
- Financial system and money markets to allow skeletal operations; and
- Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home.
It is noteworthy that although the above establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.
Suspension of Passenger Aircraft, both Commercial and Private
Under the Regulations, the movement of all passenger aircrafts, both commercial and private jets, have been suspended. However, special permits will be issued on a needs basis.
Seaports in Lagos to be Operational
All seaports in Lagos remain operational, subject to thorough screening of the vehicles and drivers by the Ports Health Authority.
To ease the difficulties that citizens will experience due to the restrictions, the President promised the following relief measures and interventions:
- Provision of relief materials for residents of satellite and commuter towns around Lagos and Abuja;
- Development of strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during the lockdown period;
- An immediate implementation of a three-month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni, FarmerMoni loans and all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank;
- Development financial institutions to engage with international and multilateral development partners to negotiate concessions for borrowers of their on-lent facilities;
- Immediate payment of two-months conditional cash transfers to the most vulnerable in the society and a two-month food ration for internally displaced persons; and
- Conversion of all Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrim camps and other facilities into isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.
The lockdown led to the closure of many businesses and the measures announced by the Federal Government offer no palliatives to the majority of businesses. The loss of income is expected to lead to significant pay cuts and loss of jobs, if prolonged. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the restrictions will lead to a containment of the virus and early eradication from the country.
1. Associate Intern, Corporate Finance & Capital Markets, SPA Ajibade & Co., Lagos, Nigeria.
2. Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Get the PDF copy here: Federal Government Restrictions in Nigeria - the COVID-19 Regulations 2020
Article orignally published on 24 April 2020
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