The Presidency has described the situation at the State House, Abuja, as a ‘partial lockdown’ and nothing to panic about.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, who disclosed this while speaking to State House Correspondents on Wednesday, also affirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari tested negative to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Presidential spokesman also explained that the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting was suspended, on advice, because of the number of persons involved in it.
According to him, the suspension of the FEC did not mean that important matters of state had been left unattended or that decisions are being taken unilaterally, adding “if there would be a very important decision to be taken, you can always summon the relevant people, three, four or five and hold a small meeting and arrive at a decision.”
On the situation at the State House, Adesina said though things had become slow in the Villa, just like it is across the country, he said it could not be termed a total lockdown, but a partial lockdown.
“Well, things are a bit on a low key, it doesn’t mean that the State House is shut down, it’s just that things are a bit on the low key just like the rest of the country. The rest of the country is also on a low key, there is partial lockdown in most parts of the country. So, what is happening at the State House can also be called a partial lockdown but not a complete lockdown”, he said.
Asked if President Muhammadu Buhari indeed was tested for the COVID-19 virus, the Presidential Spokesman while confirming it said the outcome of the result calls for rejoicing.
He asked: “what did you hear about the result?” To which the reporter responded, “they say its negative.” Adesina then replied: “Good. So that calls for rejoicing with him. Anybody that does the test and test negative we will rejoice with that person. And anybody that does it and test positive, it’s not a death sentence.
“We also would pray along with the person, give the person our goodwill and best wishes and they will surely come out of it. Even the index case in Nigeria recovered and has been discharged. So God that has shown us mercy thus far and will continue to show mercy. Anybody that test positive is not a dead sentence, they will be attended to, they will be tested and they will be fine,” he said.
On the reported cut down of number of journalists to cover the State House, the Presidential spokesman said “ban is a wrong word. Anybody that uses that word ban is just operating from a mindset and you know that Nigerians love conspiracy theories but this one is no conspiracy at all. There is no ban.
“What happened is that in the press gallery you have about 108 journalists in that single hall and it goes contrary to the spirit of the times. The time dictates that you don’t have too many people congregated in one place. Imagine 108 journalists if one of them happens to catch the virus, he spreads it among all the journalists.
“So we said for now let them stay away, not much is happening for now. But we picked a certain number, representative of the media, they will come in, if there is anything they will cover and those outside will also not miss because they would be a system in which they can share reports. So ban will be a wrong word, it will be operating from a mindset of conspiracy and there is no conspiracy here at all,” he said.