Nigeria's state governors seek compulsory face mask use in public

LAGOS, April 25 (Reuters) - Nigerian state governors have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the compulsory use of face masks in public as confirmed coronavirus cases rise, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Saturday.

The 36 state governors argued the approval was necessary to have a uniform and coordinated policy at federal and state levels to tackle the virus, the letter from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) said.

Nigeria reported 114 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 1,095 with 32 deaths. A total of 28 states have so far reported cases, with more than half of those in the commercial hub Lagos.

Nigeria, with 200 million people, is Africa’s most populous country. Some 20 million reside in Lagos.

Among measures to be announced by Buhari the governors want the government to incorporate a lockdown on flights and on interstate movement, restrictions on large gatherings, overnight curfews and compulsory face mask use in public.

The measures would exclude movement of food, beverages, medical and pharmaceuticals, petroleum supplies and agricultural products, said the governors who on Thursday agreed to ban interstate movement for two weeks.

Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the capital Abuja, are already under federally imposed lockdowns, while various states have instigated their own containment measures. (Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha and David Holmes)