The Presidency has ordered that immediate access be granted to all vehicles carrying products on the exemption list issued by the Presidential Task Force PTF on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, especially those conveying food items.

The Presidency reacted to the report that security agents charged with the responsibility of enforcing the restriction measures to be complied with by all citizens, had been detaining vehicles conveying food items across the country.

In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Tuesday evening, the Presidency ordered that all such food couriers, as well as others conveying other exempted products like pharmaceuticals, agricultural products and others, should be allowed access to any parts of the country, so long as those in each vehicle do not exceed three in number and are in possession of prescribed basic sanitary items like facemasks and sanitizers.

“In the light of the presidential directive, during the nationwide broadcast last night, it is essential that attention be drawn to the reported large number of food trucks that are being delayed at various checkpoints around the country or prevented from crossing state borders, as a result of the various curfews and lockdowns in different states.

“The restrictions of movement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic do not apply to vehicles transporting essential commodities, such as food.

“The country cannot afford a situation where agricultural products are being left to rot in trucks held at various checkpoints when millions of Nigerians across the country need food. COVID-19 or no COVID-19, Nigerians need to eat.

“Other essential items that can be transported despite the ban on movement as prescribed by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) include pharmaceutical and sanitary supplies, personal care items, agrochemicals and agricultural machinery, electrical products and electronics, oil and gas, courier services, health supplies and protective garments.

“Vehicles transporting essential items must not convey any commercial passengers. In addition, the occupants must not exceed three, i.e. the driver, spare driver, and conductor.

“The drivers must have basic protective and sanitary items, including face masks, hand sanitisers, and tissue paper to and from their destinations. Once these conditions are satisfied, they must be allowed to travel freely to and from any part of Nigeria”, the statement said.

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