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Exempt farmers from restriction order, they provide essential service, FG tells govs, others

The Federal Government has declared that farmers are part of those segments of Nigerians providing essential services and should be recognised as such.

In view of that, the Federal Government has urged state governors, local government authorities and security agencies to exempt farmers from movement restriction and allow them to carry out their activities.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, made the call at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, on Thursday.

According to Mr. Mustapha, “This (exemption) for the avoidance of doubts includes farming activities.

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“COVID-19: Food crisis looms – NLC Covid-19 predicted to push 250m people into acute hunger by year-end.

“We recognise the fact that we’re in the planting season and the nation cannot afford to prevent our hardworking farmers from going to their farms.

 “We, therefore, use this medium to reemphasize that farmers fall within the list of exemptions and urge state governors, local government authorities and security agencies to please allow them to carry out their activities.

“Our food security is critical to our national security,” Mustapha said.

He said a total of 1,071 Nigerians had been discharged from the various isolation treatment centres across the country.

He also stated that: “Nigerians have in recent days been served with different audio-visual clips by some of these returnees.

“The PTF is saddened by the conduct of some of the returnees who fail to adhere to the conditions attached to their quarantine.”

The SGF said from Thursday, the nation began the countdown to the end of the first phase of eased lockdown approved by the president so that the economy could gradually reopen.

He said the government would continue its assessment of the level of compliance with the guidelines and the impact on slowing down the spread of COVID 19. He said the Task Force would make further recommendations before the second phase commences.

“I must, however, state that our initial evaluation point firmly in the direction of a high level of non-compliance which, as we’ve often warned, portends grave self-inflicted danger.

“This fact has made it imperative for me to re-echo our call for taking personal responsibility.”

He said the PTF had briefed the topmost decision-making bodies of the country on progress, challenges and planned course of action.

According to him, the objective is to seek further guidance and fresh ideas to improve the fight against COVID-19.

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He said, “ We need to tell Nigerians that COVID-19 is real, that it is deadly and that prevention is better than cure.

“There’s no better convincing and compelling evidence of the reality of the dangers than your experience.

PTF National Coordinator Dr Sani Aliyu, among other things, dismissed a “conspiracy theory” that COVID-19 was a laboratory-generated biological weapon created by some governments to harvest resources.”