Abuja Roads, Offices deserted over fear of Coronavirus
...Federal secretariat, government offices shut down
Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital City, was visibly deserted Tuesday morning with very low human and vehicular movement over the fear of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
The nation’s capital recorded the first death from the killer virus on Monday while there are five confirmed cases of the disease, including son to a former Vice President of Nigeria, Muhammad Atiku Abubakakar, currently receiving treatment at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Coronavirus Isolation Centre, Gwagwalada.
In response to the stay-at-home instructions, the residents deserted the city centre, which looked empty when BusinessDay went around. There was total departure from the early morning traffic lock jam that characterises a typical working day.
The heavy traffic-filled Nyanya-AYA road, Ahmadu Bello Way, connecting Apo Garki, and Central Area, as well as Wuse 2, were virtually empty, with few motorists, mainly commercial vehicles plying without passengers to pick.
The Federal Secretariat, where many Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) are situated, was also empty just as many other Government establishments offices visited were shut down.
This development is a sequel to the stay-at-home order for Federal civil servants at grade levels one to 12, as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus.
A circular signed on Monday by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan, said all non-essential public servants on the grade levels must stay at home compulsorily from March 24, 2020.
The circular was copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice-President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, all ministers/ministers of state, all permanent secretaries, Accountant-General of the Federation, Auditor General of the Federation and other principal officers in the government.
It said that “as you are no doubt aware, the Federal Government has taken a number of measures to manage the identified cases of COVID -19 and curtail its spread.
“Government is concerned about the welfare and safety of all public servants just as it is about other Nigerians. All public servants are, therefore, strongly advised to follow the measures being put in place by the government to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
“As a further step to check the spread of COVID- 19, all non-essential public servants at grade levels 12 and below are to stay and work from home with effect from Tuesday, 24th March, 2020 until further notice. Each Permanent Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of MDAs shall determine the essential staff within grade levels 12 and below who will continue to perform their duties in the office. It is important to stress that this is not a holiday, as any officer can be recalled; therefore, no officer should travel out of station”.
Even, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) which is yet to announce a shutdown of activities was partially empty this morning as the Administration’s headquarters had only a few staff who turned up with health personnel checking the temperature of entrants into the offices.
The situation was the same at the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) headquarters and some Secretariats and Departments and Agencies of FCTA visited.