Governors of Kaduna and Rivers States have both declared partial lockdowns in their respective states.
Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai declared the lockdown in a state broadcast at about the same time Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike announced the lockdown in a state broadcast.
According to El Rufai, civil servants from level 1 to 12 are to comply with the stay-at-home order for the next 30 days, effective from March 24.
According to him, the market would have a partial lockdown as only traders selling food and medicines are permitted to open their shops. Essential service providers in the health, security and emergency sector are also excluded from the lockdown.
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He, however, noted that the government would not refrain from enforcing a total lockdown if the need arises.
El-Rufai thanked religious leaders, who had complied with the government’s directive against large gatherings and lamented that some had gone ahead to host large crowd in churches, mosques, weddings and other social activities.
The governor announced that security agencies had been directed to ensure compliance with the new directive.
“We have decided to move from advice to actual enforcement of its restrictions on large gatherings, especially in churches and mosques.
“This directive will be vigorously enforced by the security agencies and the Kaduna Markets Development and Management Company which will also ensure that all markets are fumigated,” he added.
El Rufai warned: “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.’’
In a similar move against the spread of the Coronavirus, Governor Wike has suspended operations of night clubs, cinemas and public parks.
This is in addition to the closure of public and private schools, and restrictions on religious and transport activities.
While making the announcement in a state broadcast on Monday evening, Governor Wike noted that the lockdown would last indefinitely, beginning from Tuesday March 24.
Wike noted that even though no positive case has been recorded in the state, the government was committed to protecting its residents, hence the decision to close public places.
He also directed religious groups to stop all forms of open worship and ordered the suspension of public burials and weddings.
“After due consultations with religious leaders, it was agreed that all religious organisations are to temporarily stop all forms of open worship. Public burial and wedding ceremonies are also banned within this period.
“In view of the fact that the disease spreads fast through body contact, social distance has become imperative if we are to contain the spread,” he said.
He called on leaders at all levels to ensure that people under their care do not flout the directive as they would be held responsible.
He said, “May I emphasise that Local Government Chairmen are to be held responsible if public burials and weddings take place in their Local Government Areas.”
According to him, monitoring teams and surveillance posts have been set up in all the local government areas and defaulters will be seen as enemies of the state and sanctioned accordingly.
“My Dear Good People of Rivers State, the essence of governance is to protect lives and we cannot be indifferent when this COVID-19 continues to claim lives world-wide.
“These decisions may seem painful for all of us but there is no price that is too much to pay for us to stay alive.”