COVID-19: Gov. El-Rufai imposes curfew, bans weddings, church activities in Kaduna

March 26, 2020
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The Kaduna State Government has imposed curfew throughout the state, following the non-compliance to certain measures that were put in place to restrict the movement of people in the state and contained the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, in a broadcast to the people of the state on Thursday, said that the decision is in line with the 1999 constitution.

According to her, “In exercise of the powers vested in the Governor by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria1999, (as amended), Sections 2 and 8 of the Quarantine Act 1926 and the Kaduna State Public Health Law of 1917.’’

She said the state has therefore 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 said that State Standing Committee on Covid-19 prevention met on Thursday to review global and national developments relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to her, “The Committee also considered reports of unsatisfactory compliance levels with the preventive measures that have been outlined by the government in repeated announcements, and with increasing severity, over the past seven days.”

She lamented that apart from flouting the directive against large gatherings, “There were also reports of certain persons not obeying the ban announced on motorcycle taxis and ‘Keke-Napep ’tricycles.’

“From midnight of Thursday, 26th March2020, all residents of Kaduna State must stay at home. No offices, businesses of any sort or places of worship are allowed to open.”

Dr Hadiza Balarebe clarified that the only category of persons exempted are workers in essential services such as health workers, the fire service and security personnel.’’

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

“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 offense 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.”

According to her, government recognises that the lockdown would not have consequences for everyone, but more so for the vulnerable persons in the communities.

“As indicated in previous statements, the government is procuring food and other supplies, funded from its contingency budget, to mitigate the challenges of a lockdown for such persons.

“These items will be distributed in community clusters across urban local government areas in the state. This will be a grassroots exercise, as it is people drawn from the the target community that will constitute the committee to manage the distribution,” she explained.

Dr Balarabe said that the lockdown is necessary, because according to her, government does not have the resources and the health facilities to cope with the pandemic should it reach Kaduna state.

She added, “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 assured that the lockdown is not scaremongering, arguing, “We are only observing our solemn obligation to let our people know the full facts, however unpleasant.”

She pointed out that it is much easier and cheaper to prevent this pandemic that to manage it.

While expressing government gratitude that the federal authorities have responded to its persistent requests by suspending the Abuja-Kaduna train service, she added, “We expect that this service will not resume until the Covid-19 pandemic is declared over.”

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