Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has ordered civil servants on level 12 and below to stay at home from Tuesday, while markets will only be opened to food and medicine sellers to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
The governor, who decried religious bodies and organisations that flouted government’s order not to congregate more than 50 people, said law enforcement agencies have been ordered to enforce the law against gathering of people in the state.
He expressed gratitude to those religious leaders who complied with the directive.
“Kaduna state government has directed all civil servants from Level 12 and below, to remain at home for the next 30 days, effective from Tuesday.
Workers providing essential services in the health, security and emergency service sectors are exempted from this directive.
“Markets will remain partially open as only traders selling food and medicines are permitted to open their shops, effective from Tuesday, 24th March 2020. This directive will be vigorously enforced by security agencies and the Kaduna Markets Development and Management Company which will also ensure that all markets are fumigated.
“Government 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.
“Government has now decided to move from advice to actual enforcement of its restrictions on large gatherings, especially in churches and mosques.
ecurity agencies have been directed to ensure compliance across the state. These agencies will also enforce compliance with the decision to close all schools, whether public or private, religious or secular, Islamiyya or run by Christian missions.
“We 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. We will not hesitate to impose a lockdown of the entire state, if events dictate. This will be done with every effort to take care of the poor and vulnerable.’’
The governor, who reiterated that no case of Covid-19 has been reported on Kaduna state so far, added that, ‘’the government has a duty to work with all our leaders and residents of our state to jointly ensure that everything is done to reduce the chance of the disease taking root and spreading in the state.
“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. People should stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel. Residents should postpone every trip until this pandemic is curtailed, because only those who are alive can travel.
‘’To this end, we have contacted the relevant federal authorities to stop the Abuja-Kaduna train service and thus limit the danger from contact on the train and influx from people who might have been exposed to infected persons,’’ he added.
El Rufai also urged all citizens who recently returned from travel overseas to please self-isolate for 14 days. ‘’Any symptoms of cough, fever or difficulty in breathing should be reported to the following numbers: 08025088304, 08032401473, 08035871662 and 08037808191,’’ he said.