Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai

Kaduna State Government has quarantined the entire State, ordering every residents to stay indoor indefinitely.

Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, in a State broadcast on Thursday, said the decision was taken because people had refused to abide by the directives of the government to halt the spread of the disease in Kaduna.

Balarabe, on behalf of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said the State Standing Committee on Covid-19 prevention met on Thursday to review global and national developments relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said the meeting noted with great concern the rising number of Covid-19 infections being reported daily in Nigeria, including in nearby Abuja.

Balarabe said 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.

“While compliance levels with school closures is now total, the sad fact is that there is no consistent and significant adherence to the ban on large gatherings and the closure of shops and markets. There were also reports of certain persons not obeying the ban announced on motorcycle taxis and ‘Keke-Napep’ tricycles.

“Amidst this unfortunate indication that many people are yet to absorb the enormity of the danger that Covid-19 poses to lives, the government pays tribute to all the residents of our state who have complied with public health advice and stayed home. We thank the religious and community leaders, school proprietors, business owners and other citizens who have contributed to our efforts to protect our people from a deadly virus that would easily overwhelm the health facilities and personnel in our state.

“This is the third broadcast this week, and the second I will be making. Our resolve to use all preventive measures at our disposal remains strong. We are committed to pragmatic and rational means to increase the chances that all our people stay safe, stay home and stay alive.

“In exercise of the powers vested in the Governor by Section 45 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, (as amended), Sections 2 and 8 of the Quarantine Act 1926, now known as CAP Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Public Health Law of 1917: Kaduna State has 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 Act8. Further to these declarations, and in accordance with the law, the following shall take effect in Kaduna State:

“From midnight of Thursday, 26th March, 2020, all residents of Kaduna State are quarantined and must stay at home. No office, event centre, market, shop or business of any sort or place of worship is allowed to open; The only category of persons exempted are workers in essential services such as health workers, the fire service and security personnel. Tankers conveying fuel to petrol stations are also permitted to move,” she declared.

Balarabe said the government recognised that Kaduna State is a transport hub and that transit through Kaduna will be allowed, provided that such vehicles ply only the Western bye-pass.

“We are grateful that the federal authorities have responded to our persistent requests by suspending the Abuja-Kaduna train service. We expect that this service will not resume until the Covid-19 pandemic is declared over; We recognise that this quarantine 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 identified parts of some 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 added.

According to her, Kaduna did not have the human resources and the health facilities to cope with this pandemic should it spread through the towns and villages of the state, saying that the struggles of countries with much better health systems should offer a sobering lesson to anyone who sought to minimise or trivialise the clear and present danger that the State face from coronavirus.

“This is not scaremongering. We are only observing our solemn obligation to let our people know the full facts, however unpleasant. It is much easier and cheaper to prevent this pandemic than to manage its spread and the attendant suffering and deaths it could inflict on our citizens.

“Therefore, these emergency measures will be strictly enforced by the security agencies. They have clear directives for the immediate arrest, detention and prosecution of any person that violates these measures. Churches and mosques will be shut, there will be no congregational prayers or services of worship either within these places of worship or in their immediate outdoors.

“The circumstances of the moment dictate that the worship of God must be conducted in the privacy of our homes, for now. Wedding events and all social gatherings are strictly prohibited while these emergency measures remain in place,” she added.