…Niger govt, lawmakers disagree over ‘curfew’
By Wole Mosadomi, Bashir Bello & Therese Nanlong
KANO—The Kano State government, yesterday declared a two week work- free for the state civil servants as part of measures to contain the spread of corona virus, COVID 19 in the state and safeguard the lives of the citizens.
The State Executive Council, SEC, arising from its meeting directed the civil servants to stay away from their offices from today.
Commissioner of Information, Muhammad Garba who stated this in a statement, said, “the council approved the measures to ensure prevention and contain the spread of the virus through contacts at government offices across the state. While the state is yet to record a single case of the deadly disease, as part of measures to curtail the spread of the virus, the council has from Wednesday, banned the inflow of large capacity buses into the state.
“This is in consideration of the risk involved in the mode of operations of the buses that involve stuffing of passengers and the unorderly sitting arrangement in the buses. The state government is working tirelessly to ensure the virus does not find its way to the state and if it does, the government is prepared to control and manage it.
“The residents are urged to ensure adherence to health instructions released by the Federal and the state’s Ministry of Health on how to prevent the disease as well as ensure personal hygiene.”
Niger govt, lawmakers disagree
Meanwhile, Niger State government and the state House of Assembly, yesterday disagreed over the curfew imposed on the state Governor Abubakar Bello
In a unanimous decision at plenary, members of the House of Assembly, said rather than serve as a preventive measure against the COVID 19, it would worsen the economic situation in the state and further impoverish the people.
They asked the state governor to replace the word “Curfew” with “Restriction” and also change the restriction order from 8pm-8am, to 5pm to 8am.
The state government however insisted that there was no going back on the timing of the Curfew contending that the order was not aimed at hurting anybody but to save life.
The House described the word ‘curfew’ as too despotic which the members said can better be used during crises.
At plenary yesterday, member representing Bosso constituency, Malik Madaki Bosso had moved a motion on urgent public importance on the dusk to down curfew imposed by the governor, Abubakar Sani Bello.
He argued that the dusk to dawn lockdown will worsen the situation rather than serve as a preventive measure.
“With the worsening poverty, hunger and suffering, stopping people from hustling for their daily survival is more suicidal than anything anyone can imagine and so, I call on the government to reconsider its position on the curfew,” he submitted.
In a swift reaction, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Makun Sidi, among others, said “our primary aim is to break the time of transmission which is the contact period between people to people and the most suitable time to break this chain is from 8am-8pm.”
Plateau govt shuts markets, clubs
Meantime, Governor, Simon Lalong of Plateau State, yesterday ordered the closure of all markets in the state from today, saying “Only traders selling food items, pharmaceuticals and cooking gas are to remain open.”
The governor also said all street trading, hawking, begging were prohibited, the weekly Sunday markets at Ahmadu Bello Way, Bukuru and environs are also banned, Lalong equally noted that social joints, nightclubs, drinking joints were banned, while restaurants are advised to prepare take away for their customers to avoid crowd.
The Governor, in a State broadcast announced that to ensure total compliance, he would lead a Task Force on enforcement stressing, “Government has set up a Task Force on Enforcement and Monitoring, which will be personally chaired by me to coordinate, evaluate and review developments on the disease in the State. The Task Force will also give updates to citizens from time to time.”
“My dear citizens of Plateau State, it has become necessary to address you on the global health challenge that we are facing today which is the Corona Virus pandemic otherwise known as COVID-19.
It is no longer news that this disease is a threat not only to human existence, but also to the global economy. For these reasons, all hands must be on deck to fight it and ensure that people are protected from its deadly impact.
Among others, he said “Our administration has remained proactive in responding to the pandemic and also liaising closely with the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to tackle the disease.
You will recall that when we received information about some Chinese nationals who arrived Wase Local Government Area after the outbreak of the disease in their country, I immediately directed the Commissioner of Health to deploy experts to investigate.
“Fortunately, the results came out negative after their period of quarantine and observation, leaving the State with no case of Corona Virus disease to this day. We have continued our surveillance to ensure that any suspected case is identified and addressed appropriately.”
Speaking more on what is being done to contain the disease, he added, “In addition, we also activated our Public Health Emergency Operation Centre to enhance our monitoring capacity and ability to receive up-to-date information from all the 17 Local Government Areas.
With more cases recorded in Nigeria and based on advice of experts, I directed the closure of all schools from pre-primary to tertiary level in the State from Saturday 21st March 2020.