The estimated 20 million population of Lagos was on Sunday barricaded after the neighbouring Ogun State announced the closure of its borders as a way of checking the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lagos State had earlier announced the closure of the local airports. The other exits out of Lagos in the neigbouring Benin Republic has been shut leaving the sea as the only way into or out of Lagos.
Lagos is surrounded by Ogun to the North and East by Ogun State and shares eastern boundary with Benin Republic and to the South by the Atlantic Ocean.
The closure of the Ogun State boundaries was announced by Mr. Kunle Somorin, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Dapo Abiodun.
The government stated it was constrained to effect border closure in order “to stem and flatten the curve of the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic in the state, the nation and the West African sub-region’’.
The closure, which would be effected at 12 midnight on Sunday, would be in force for two weeks in the first instance.
“With this restriction order, movement in and out of the state is thus banned as a further measure to contain the coronavirus pandemic,’’ the statement read in part.
The government stated that its position was peculiar because it shared an international border with the Republic of Benin and with other states in the South-hWest region, except Ekiti.
“The border closure will not only be beneficial to Ogun but the national efforts to curtail and contain the virus.
“Lessons from other climes strongly indicate that closure of borders has the potential to drastically flatten the curve of spread whilst unrestricted movement portends grave dangers.’’
According to the statement, the only exceptions to the interstate restrictions are vehicles conveying personnel involved in essential services such as security agencies, health workers, food and medical items and petroleum products.
The government enjoined citizens to fully co-operate with the security agencies, who it said, have been fully briefed and directed to effect the closure.
“At this period of a global pandemic and national emergency, all hands must be on deck to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
“The border closure and other measures will be reviewed from time to time in response to developments as they unfold,’’ it added.