Nigeria’s state governors have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the compulsory use of face masks in public, as the president’s 14-day lockdown of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun expires on Monday, April 27.

With Lagos, Abuja and ogun already under federally imposed lockdowns since March 30, various states like Kano, Rivers and Osun have instigated their own containment measures.

The states have also restricted interstate movement in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). However, they now want the president to go one better as he prepares for another national broadcast.

The Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 led by Boss Mustapha (2nd from left) and Ehanire (2nd from right) briefed President Buhari on Friday, April 10, 2020 (Twitter @Mbuhari)
The Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 led by Boss Mustapha (2nd from left) and Ehanire (2nd from right) briefed President Buhari on Friday, April 10, 2020 (Twitter @Mbuhari)

According to a Reuters report, the 36 governors believe that Buhari’s approval for the compulsory use of face masks in public is needed to ensure a uniform and coordinated policy at federal and state levels to tackle the virus, the letter from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) said.

Two presidency sources told the news agency that the request had taken the form of a suggestion to the president’s task force on COVID-19. They said the task force would brief him on the suggestion on Sunday.

In a nutshell, the governors want Buhari’s next set of coronavirus measures to incorporate a lockdown on flights and on interstate movement, restrictions on large gatherings and overnight curfews, as well as making the use of face masks in public compulsory.

The movement of food, beverages, medical and pharmaceuticals, petroleum supplies and agricultural products should be exempt, said the governors.

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has turned the use of face masks into a fashion statement (Cross River govt)
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has turned the use of face masks into a fashion statement (Cross River govt)

A couple of state governors had long disclosed that they will commence the enforcement of face masks this week.

Nigeria has reported 1182 coronavirus cases in 28 states and the federal capital city of Abuja, as of Saturday, April 25.

There have been 35 deaths and 222 recoveries nationwide.

Densely populated Lagos remains the epicenter of the outbreak in Nigeria with 689 confirmed cases.