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FACT CHECK: Did Sanwo-Olu claim to end Lagos lockdown?

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For almost one month, Nigeria’s economic capital, Lagos, has been on lockdown by President Muhammadu Buhari to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. The president also locked down Ogun State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

Meanwhile, a viral report earlier this week claimed that Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has decided to end Lagos lockdown.

CLAIM:  An online news platform – Black box Nigeria reported that Mr Sanwo-olu on April 20 vowed to end lockdown in the state. The platform quoted the governor to have said: “From next week, we are going to be making face masks compulsory in Lagos state. We have commissioned more than one million face masks to be distributed in the state”, the newspaper quoted.

VERIFICATION: POLITICS NIGERIA carried out a check on the report and our findings show that the platform misled the public with its headline. Firstly, the newspaper did not provide direct quotes of the governor talking about suspension of the lockdown. The headline of the story was far different from the body of the news report.

This, however, makes POLITICS NIGERIA seek further verification. Mr Sanwo-olu shared the statement read on April 20 on his twitter handle and he never mentioned ending the lockdown.

His tweet read as follows:

“Lagos is now seeing a slow spread of community transmission of COVID19 and as such we are considering mandatory use of face masks in our plan to contain #COVID19. The rise in new cases is as a success of our house-to-house contact tracing and ramping up of tests across 20 LGAs.”

“We encourage residents not to panic but to ensure strict #SocialDistancing and good hygiene. Let us avoid stigmatising those who have been discharged as this will encourage those experiencing symptoms to come forward instead of seeking private help and hiding travel history.”

We have commissioned local production of face masks certified by our healthcare professionals for our residents. Let us not give in to panic buying and opportunistic price gouging which will deny our frontline healthcare workers of masks and other PPEs required to fight #COVID19.”

“Everyone needs to work together to avoid the irresponsibility of flouting the lockdown, hiding symptoms and travel history and managing #COVID19 patients at healthcare facilities without informing the @LSMOH and @NCDCgov. We will continue to do all we can to stop the spread.”

“As we prepare to observe the Ramadan fast, we have a responsibility to continue to maintain appropriate levels of respiratory hygiene and physical distancing and observe the restrictions on gatherings.
We must work together to beat #COVID19. Let’s do it.”

From the above release, POLITICS NIGERIA can independently report that Mr Sanwo-olu did not mention lifting the lockdown order placed on the state.

VERDICT: Based on the above verification, it is FALSE to state that Mr Sanwo-olu claimed to end Lagos lockdown. Also, he does not have the constitutional powers to end the lockdown only the President can.

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Kabir Adejumo

Adejumo Kabir is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is a great researcher with dozens of investigative journalism awards to his name at the national and international level. He loves community journalism and supports all aspects of public enlightenment. He has experience writing well-researched and impactful reports for several online publications. He is the Director of Campus Press Hub and Author of Campus Journalism Beginners' Handbook. He has also been shortlisted for the DAME Awards for his contributions to Journalism

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