KADUNA ON LOCKDOWN OVER CORONAVIRUS AFTER RESIDENTS REFUSE TO OBEY EARLIER MEASURES TO REDUCE INTERACTIONS

Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna

The Kaduna State Government on Thursday imposed curfew on the state following non-compliance to certain measures that were earlier put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, made this known via a broadcast to the residents of the state on Thursday.

She stated, “From midnight of Thursday, 26th March, 2020, all residents of Kaduna State must stay at home. No offices, businesses of any sort or places of worship are allowed to open.”

The deputy governor, however, clarified that the only category of persons exempted were essential services’ workers such as health, fire service and security personnel.

She warned that the curfew would be strictly enforced by the security agencies, adding that “they have clear directives for the immediate arrest and prosecution of any person that violates these measures.”

Balarabe said the decision was in line with the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The commissioner added that the decision “is in exercise of the powers vested in the governor by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, (as amended), Sections 2 and 8 of the Quarantine Act 1926 and the Kaduna State Public Health Law of 1917.”

She said the state  had “been declared a public health area, coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, is hereby declared as a dangerous, infectious disease within the meaning of the Quarantine Act.”

The deputy governor noted  that State Standing Committee on Covid-19 prevention met on Thursday  to review global and national developments relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said, “Churches and mosques will be shut, there will no congregational prayers or services either within these places of worship or outdoors.

“Wedding events and all social gatherings are strictly prohibited while these emergency measures remain in place.

“Any place of worship, event centre or place that hosts social gatherings will be in violation of its term of grant and therefore risks forfeiting its title and having the site of the offence removed.

“We recognise that Kaduna State is a transport hub. Therefore, transit through Kaduna will be allowed, provided that such vehicles ply only the Western bye-pass.”

She noted that the lockdown became necessary because the state  did not have the resources and the health facilities to cope with the pandemic should it reach Kaduna State.

“The struggles of countries with much better health systems should offer a sobering lesson to anyone who seeks to minimise or trivialise the clear and present danger that we face,” she said.

She added that government recognised the consequences of the lockdown on the vulnerable persons in the state, saying that “the government is procuring food and other supplies, funded from its contingency budget, to mitigate the challenges of a lockdown for such persons.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps has begun the enforcement of the ban on commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators in Kaduna State as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Our correspondent who went round Kaduna metropolis and its environs, observed the civil defence corps joined other security outfit in enforcing the directives on the ban which took effect as from Thursday.

A statement released by the State Command Public Relations Officer, Orndiir Terzungwe, quoted the  state Commandant of the NSCDC, Babangida Dustinma, to have said that the enforcement of the ban became necessary as a preventive measure against the pandemic.

Copyright PUNCH.