By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has ordered closure of all schools and markets in the state, and said that such measures were aimed at effectively mitigating possible spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic amongst its people so as to ensure the safety, health and welbeing of Kaduna residents.
In addition, El-Rufai directed that only traders selling food items and medicines were permitted to open their shops to prospective customers, while others were expected to put a stop to trading activities, and that his administration also expected all state civil servants from Levels one till twelve to remain at home for a month or pending further directives by the government.
El-Rufai explained that the decisions had been taken in light of present coronavirus realities in the country, and that they were aimed at protecting the people of Kaduna State from possible spread of the deadly disease, which he said could be exercebated if handled with levity.
The Governor, who made the announcements through a statewide broadcast which was aired on Monday, stated that the directives were to take effect from Tuesday, and that it was expected that all residents of the state comply to the government instructions, adding that his administration would stop at nothing to enforce a total lockdown of the state in the event of higher incidence of the disease.
He noted that the stay at home order which was in the best interests of the people would, however, not be binding on workers providing essential services in the health, security and emergency service sectors, which were exempted from the directive due to the critical nature of the jobs they do and the services rendered.
El-Rufai decried flouting of the government recent order against holding large gatherings and embracing of social distancing methods by individuals and some religious houses, noted that his administration, would henceforth not condone such blatant disregard for the law, especially when it concerns issues of public health and safety of his people.
“We received reports of congregations in some churches and mosques, as well as large crowds in weddings and other social activities. Over the weekend, we also sadly observed shocking levels of complacency as some people ignored their responsibility to uphold preventive measures. We’ve decided to move from advice to actual enforcement of the restrictions on large gatherings, especially in churches and mosques”.
According to him, men of the Police State Command had been directed to ensure compliance to all directives across the state, as well as selected enforcement agencies which had also been mandated with the enforcement of compliance in the education sector, of his administration’s decision to close all schools in the state.
El-Rufai, reiterated that the directive on markets would be vigorously enforced by the security agencies and the Kaduna Markets Development and Management Company which would also carry out regular fumigation and santinization of the state’s markets.
“It is true that there has, as yet been no reported cased of coronavirus in Kaduna State, however, we believe that we do not have to wait till we have incidence of the disease before taking proactive measures against possible occurence,”
“The state government will not hesitate to impose a state wide curfew, should that become the only way to enforce compliance and make everyone understand the collective danger that we face if we decide to take this threat with levity,”
“It is better to impose restrictions and save lives, than to be complacent and bury victims. Countries that have hesitated to impose extraordinary measures to contain coronavirus are now regretting. We have a chance to avoid such mistakes”.