By Ismaila Chafe/ Mustapha Sumaila
Abuja, March 30, 2020
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the Covid-19 Regulations, 2020, which declared Covid-19 a dangerous infectious disease.
The President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, confirmed the development in a statement in Abuja.
He said President Buhari’s action was in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf.
”The Regulations, effective March 30, 2020, also gave legal backing to the various measures outlined in the President’s National Broadcast on March 29, 2020, such as Restriction/Cessation of Movement in Lagos, FCT and Ogun State and others toward containing the spread of the pandemic in the country.
”In addition, to ensure that Nigerians can still perform on-line transactions and use ATMs whilst observing these restrictions, exemption is granted financial system and money markets to allow very skeletal operations in order to keep the system in light operations during the pendency of these regulations,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday suspended clearing of cheques until further notice following the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The suspension was announced in a circular to Deposit Money Banks and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) by the Director of Banking Services at CBN, Mr Sam Okojere.
President Buhari on Sunday ordered a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT with effect from 11 p.m. on Monday, March 30, as a response to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The bank explained that in view of these developments and in furtherance to the Bank’s effort to ensure hitch-free clearing and settlement activities, the CBN had therefore suspended it until further notice.
The apex bank further stated that the clearing of cheques instruments in the Nigerian clearing starting from March and for the avoidance of doubt, no fresh cheque instrument would be allowed to pass through March 31.
The CBN noted that only returned cheques would be treated on the said date.
“However, settlement activities for electronic instruments will continue to hold during this period of suspension”.