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COVID-19: Army denies plot to lockdown Nigeria

The Nigerian Army has described reports that it will embark on Military lockdown on the  directive of the Federal Government as unfounded and misleading.

The reports which was contained in an unsigned Army internal memo that personnnel will be drafted across the Federation on Friday to enforce total lockdown as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The memo also added that troops will be deployed to guard all Government food storage facilities across the country to avoid looting.

On this note, the Acting Director Army Public Relations,  Colonel Sagir Musa, in a statement,  noted that, “the misinterpretation that Government is locking down the entire country and pulling out the Army by Friday 27 March 2020 is utterly false and baseless”.

According to the statement,  “it has come to the notice of the Nigerian Army and the General public some misleading publications in a section of the media with the title Federal Government to Enforce Military Lockdown on Friday. The Nigerian Army wishes to dissociate itself from such false, speculative and vexatious publication designed by certain mischievous elements to create chaos, panic and disaffection in the society that could only serve the ulterior motives of its promoters. To put the record straight, the document being quoted was a proactive directive for the Nigerian Army to prepare for possible escalation of the COVID -19 based on the happenings around the world on the pandemic.

The statement continued: The misinterpretation that Government is locking down the entire country and pulling out the Army by Friday 27 March 2020 is utterly false and baseless. The NA considers the publication and negative interpretation being given the content of the Classified document containing information meant for the Nigerian Army personnel as a violation of the Official Secret Act. The NA will continue to be professional, proactive and responsive in support of the Constitution, Democracy and Government of NIGERIA in line with its constitutional mandate of providing aid to civil authority when called upon to do so. The NA will leave no stone unturned to prepare to support the civil authority in times of emergencies of national magnitude. The mischief of some unpatriotic few will not dissuade the Nigerian Army from working with sister services, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to keep NIGERIA Safe”.

It added that, “the NA calls on the general public to discountenance the publication going round that the Federal Government is locking down Nigeria by Friday 27 March 2020 on the basis of the content of the directive to military formations to take proactive measures to prepare for possible call out to assist civil authority in the case of COVID-19 getting worse in the Country.”

Nathaniel Udoh

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