A report by Premium Times says that the Nigerian Army plans to embark on a special operation which includes enforcing restrictions of movement and compulsorily moving sick people to hospitals. This is as part of the government’s strategy to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Operation, tagged ‘Op-Second Eleven’, has been sanctioned by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, according to a memo obtained by the newspaper. The memo signed by Nigeria Army’s Chief of Policy and Plans, Lamidi Adeosun, was copied to 112 recipients, including all the subdivisions of the army. It directs the suspension of all projected 2020 events of the army that involve large gatherings including meetings, briefings, and conferences. According to the memo, aside the suspension of most programmes chalked up for this year, the army is making plans to lease out excavators, trucks, water tankers and other relevant vehicles to aid the operation in the area of possible mass burial, water, and essential food/drugs supplies. The memo said the army also plans “forceful transfer of the sick to hospitals, enforcement of government movement restriction order” among others. The Nigeria Army is also “planning to secure all major food stores and government storage facilities for essential goods from looting. It is also planning coordination with sister services, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Fire Services and others on enforcing a restriction on movements and other directives by the government. A statement late on Wednesday by the Army denied the memo.

Aero Contractors has offered its aircraft both fixed-wing and helicopters to the FG for the airlift of relief materials, medical equipment, and personnel in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. According to Ado Sanusi, the airline’s CEO, the offer was the airline’s contribution to support the FG’s fight against the virus and treatment of those already infected. Imploring well-meaning individuals, corporate organisations to support the government to overcome the pandemic, Sanusi said the aircraft would henceforth be at the disposal of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of Coronavirus in Nigeria, headed by the SGF, Boss Mustapha.

A group of Nigerian soldiers and anti-riot policemen that responded to a bandits’ attack in Galadima Kogo Village in Shiroro LGA in Niger State have been declared missing days after the team suffered heavy casualties in an ambush. At least 10 soldiers among the team from a forward operation base who received a distress call about bandits shooting sporadically at a village located on the outskirts of Galadima Kogo on the night of 5 March 2020 are missing. The security personnel and some vigilantes arrived at the location to discover the community sacked, some persons abducted by the bandits, and an unspecified number of cows carted away. The force team went in pursuit of the bandits supported by an air force helicopter after conducting a clearance operation. The team reportedly ran into an ambush set up by the bandits at about 1400 hours shortly after the helicopter went for refuelling, and subsequently lost communication with the base. Four of the team who were wounded in action have been evacuated to the hospital by the time they were tracked down to Farin Doki by 1600 hours. The Headquarters of 31 Artillery Brigade confirmed that 10 soldiers had been declared missing and not killed in action after additional reinforcement of 30 military personnel dispatched from Pandogari subsequently arrived at Farin Doki at about 1640 hours to conduct a search and rescue operation for the missing soldiers.

Data from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System has shown that bank customers across the country carried out over 3.71 million online instant payments on the NIBSS Instant Pay platform in the lead up to a shut down by Lagos and other states in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Live updates provided by the NIBSS said that at 1805 hours on Wednesday showed that NIP deals hit exactly 3,713,849 as residents prepare for partial shutdown in the states. The data showed that a low failure rate of 0.33 percent was recorded on the platform, with customers experiencing a total of 12,132 failed transactions and 3.7 million successful payments. Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had directed that markets selling non-essential items in the state to be shut as from Thursday for seven days in order to curb the spread of coronavirus. Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, and Edo state governments also followed suit, announcing the closure of their markets to minimise public gatherings. Lagos state, however, exempted markets selling food items, water, drugs, medical equipment, and other life-saving items from the closure. The data from the NIBSS said that Instant payments reached a peak at 1515 hours on Wednesday, recording a total volume of 46,389 at that time while the Point of Sales transactions carried out by merchants and retailers in the country were high at 1,274,393 as of 1807 hours on Wednesday. Transactions on PoS had a failure rate of 13.03 percent as the volume of failed transactions on the terminals stood at 189,257 at the same time. Electronic payment on PoS peaked also at 1050 hours, recording a volume of 13,981 at that time. There were long queues seen at many of the bank’s ATM in many areas of Lagos as residents crowded banks to make withdrawals and last-minute purchases.