By AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
Kaduna State Government has imposed curfew following what it called non-compliance to certain measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, who made this known on Thursday, in the second state broadcast in two days, said that the decision is in line with the 1999 constitution.
She also said churches and mosques will be shut and there will no congregational prayers or services either within the places of worship or outdoors.
She warned that any workship centre that violates the order will have its title forfeited and site removed.
According to her, the decision is ‘’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.’’
Balarabe said Kaduna 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.’’
Balarabe further said 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.’’
Deputy Governor Balarabe warned that ‘’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.’’
The Deputy Governor 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 will 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,’’ the Deputy Governor further warned.
Dr Balarabe said that, ‘’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,’’ she clarified.
According to her, Government recognises that this lockdown will have consequences for everyone but more so for the vulnerable persons in our 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.