By Ayoola Olaitan
The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has beckoned on President Mohammadu Buhari to allow commercial banks service Automated Teller Machines (ATM) during the 14 days imposed lockdown announced yesterday.
Buhari announced cessation of all movement in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun States as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country, but the financial authorities believe banks should be allowed to continue skeletal operations.
Although the lockdown is to take effect from 11pm today, the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have requested approval from President Buhari for financial services to remain in a joint statement today.
The statement signed by Finance Minister and CBN Governor, said; “To ensure that Nigerians can still perform online transactions and use ATMs whilst observing these restrictions, we will like to inform the general public and all affected stakeholders that we have obtained exemptions from the President to allow very skeletal operations in the Financial System and Money Markets in order to keep the system in light operations during this time”
“All relevant staff of affected outfits and agencies should look out for further instructions from their immediate bosses. We are mindful of the difficulties these restrictions would bring on ordinary Nigerians and are grateful to the President for approving these exemptions, which should help ease some of these burdens.”
They, however, urged all Nigerians to be patient, cooperative and united as all hands are on deck to defeat this virus.”
Addressing Nigerians yesterday, the President said: “based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
“This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.”
Buhari urged citizens in these areas to stay in their homes, adding that businesses and offices within these locations should also be fully closed during this period.