Coronavirus: Artisans, traders, commuters defy lockdown order

Posted by News Express | 29 March 2020 | 444 times

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As the federal and state governments intensify efforts to enforce their restriction order with a view to curtailing the rapid spread of Coronavirus across the country, most Nigerians, especially artisans, traders and motorists have flouted the directive to close their businesses and stay at home.

Following the social restriction order imposed by government to halt the spread of the disease, law enforcement agents, including the military and the Nigeria Police had their zonal and state commands to strictly enforce the directive in their respective jurisdiction.

But a good number of the populace at the weekend refused to adhere to the order.

Our correspondents who monitored enforcement of the restriction order observed that major shops, markets and other businesses across the states and the Federal Capital Territory remained the same, with traders selling their goods and products in all the markets visited.

Despite warning that limiting the numbers of close contact with potentially infected individuals and objects was important in curbing the spread of coronavirus, the usual practice of drivers overloading passengers without bothering that people could contract the virus in buses and taxis continued.

It was observed that most commercial drivers with no sanitizers in their vehicles for passengers still jam-packed people in their buses and taxis in total disdain to government’s directive that citizens should adopt the social distance strategy to curtail spread of the deadly virus.

In Kaduna, the state government arrested two clerics for conducting Friday congregational prayers in two communities of Kaduna North local government area in violation of the curfew imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who disclosed this at a press conference on Saturday, named the culprits as Malam Aminu Umar Usman and Malam Umar Shangel, from Malali and Unguwan Kanawa respectively.

The commissioner said that their conduct violated government orders as well as advice given by leaders of faith, adding that the clerics will be prosecuted accordingly.

Aruwan reiterated that government expects compliance with the quarantine orders and the curfew imposed on the entire state and will continue to enforce them.’

The commissioner said, “Security agencies will enforce government orders and uphold the 24 hour curfew, until further notice. Those who seek to defy the directives stand the risk of arrest and prosecution.

“It should be clear that the inconveniences associated with the preventive measures, while regretted, are nothing compared to the suffering and deaths that coronavirus will cause if it is allowed to get here and spread.

“However, government has also sadly noted that certain individuals, including clerics, are violating the restriction of movement, large gatherings, trading and congregational prayers.

“Such violations are patently illegal and irresponsible conduct, at a time that requires sober and rational conduct to protect our people from coronavirus”.

In the FCT, the ministerial team on COVID-19 restriction Enforcement yesterday cut short activities at a popular pentecostal church at Jabi district.

The team which commenced its operation at Wuse market moved to the church following information that the church was holding wedding ceremonies and other activities against the directive that there should be no gathering of more than 50 people.

The taskforce led by the chairman of FCT traffic management task team, Ikharo Attah, addressed the gathering and consequently disperse the worshippers.

At Police Quaters in wuse zone 6, the team also stopped a large wedding reception which was ongoing with over three hundred persons.

The team arrived the scene of the wedding reception at a residential neighbourhood when the bride and groom were about show up at the event.

When the team got to the Wuse and Dutse Alhaji markets, they discovered it was partial compliance to the social distancing directive.

At the Utako market, it was business as usual, with the team insisting that it must be shut down immediately.

In Kogi State, residents and traders on Saturday defied the state government t directive that residents should stay at home and that all markets in the state should be shut down.

Our Correspondent who monitored the shutdown order reports that activities in the state remained as usual, with shops widely opened and traders selling their goods and products in all the markets visited.

At Kpata market and Lokoja International market, even though all the entrance gates were under lock and key, the road to the market was crowded with traders carrying out their usual transactions.

There was however some level of compliance at the Old market during the period of the monthly sanitation exercise from 7am to 10am, but traders opened their various shops immediately after the sanitation exercise.

Some of the traders who spoke to our correspondent insisted that they were not aware of the shutdown by the state government, saying they needed to earn their daily living.

One of the traders, Mrs Hassanat Mohammed, who noted that she was not aware of the shutdown directive, said ‘’I have to sell to feed my children’’.

In Katsina, the state Police Command, said it has arrested not fewer than 90 persons who staged a protest that led to the burning down of Kusada Divisional police station, seven vehicles and ten motorcycles.

A statement signed by the Command’s spokesman, SP Gambo Isah, said the protesters took to the street following an arrest of one Mallam Hassan, who conducted a Friday prayer in one of the Kusada jummaat mosques and was brought to the Area Commander’s Office for questioning.

The development didn’t go well with his followers who staged a protest and burnt the police station, seven vehicles and ten motorcycles inside the station.

“Consequently, 28/03/2020 at about 09:00hrs, this particular group organized themselves in such a tumultuous manner, rioting, attacked and over powered the policemen on duty at Kusada Division, set ablaze the police station and DPO’s Quarters. They also burnt down seven motor vehicles and ten motorcycles in custody of the police station”, the statement noted.

In Ebonyi, the state Police Command arrested nine persons in Ikwo and Ezza South local government area of the state for organising burial ceremonies in total violation the state government directive banning burial ceremonies and other social gatherings to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

The State commissioner of Police, CP Awosola Awotinde, made the disclosure in Abakaliki during a joint broadcast with the state commissioner for Information and Orientation, Barr Uchenna Orji, on the preventive measures taken to stop the spread of coronavirus in the state.

According to the commissioner of Police, 2 persons were arrested in Ikwo local government area while the remaining seven were also arrested in Ezza South council area.

CP Awotinde said that the police officers who supervised the burial in Ikwo local government are also undergoing orderly room trial, adding that measures have also been taken to ensure that men of the Command and other security personal involved in the enforcement of government’s directive were civil to the public.

He urged the people to corporate with the security team in the enforcement of the directive to ensure the state stays safe from the virus.

Meanwhile, Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, yesterday ordered the immediate closure of all churches, mosques and the ban of burials and marriage ceremonies across the state.

The Governor gave the orders via a state broadcast on all radio stations across the state on Saturday.

Uzodinma said all forms of gathering in the state remained banned, including crusades, evangelism, church, and mosque activities.

The governor also ordered the immediate closure of markets across the state.

He also ordered the immediate blockade of all the state borders by health and security operatives who are to screen persons before they enter into the state.

Governor Uzodinma, while urging Imo people to exercise faith and courage that the state will overcome the covid 19 measures, promised weekly reviews of the measures already put in place.

He explained that the measures are to protect people and safeguard the children, even as he maintained that the state and its people will overcome.

In Taraba State, Governor Darius Ishaku yesterday ordered the closure of all roads leading to the state.

The governor’s directive was contained in a press statement issued on by his chief press secretary, Hassan Mijinyawa.

The statement noted: “Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku has banned travels in and out of Taraba state with effect from Sunday, 29th March, 2020 to check spread of corona virus in the state.

“The decision to close the state’s land borders was taken as part of continued efforts by the state government to protect the residents from the spread of the dreaded corona virus.

“The commissioner of police and the commandant of National security and Civil Defence Corps have been directed to ensure strict compliance”.

Also, the Ogun State government yesterday announced the closure of its borders with the neighbouring states and the international border with the Republic of Benin.

The closure would  be effected at 12 midnight on Sunday, March, 29, 2020. It would be in force for two weeks in the first instance.

With this restriction order, movement in and out of the state is thus banned as a further measure to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement issued on Saturday in Abeokuta by Kunle Somorin, Chief Press Secretary, Governor Dapo Abiodun, the state was constrained to effect border closure in order to stem and flatten the curve of the spread of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, not only in the state but in the country and in the West African sub-region.

Confirmed cases now 97 as virus spreads to 11 states

Meanwhile 16 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Nigeria, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 97.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), “Two of the cases were reported in the FCT, four in Oyo, seven in Lagos, one each in Kaduna, Benue and Osun States.

Health Minister briefs PMB

Meanwhile, the minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, yesterday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the effort his ministry was making to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The minister met the president in his residence alongside the director general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) at the presidential villa.

The meeting also put to rest speculations about the president’s whereabouts.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the Health minister disclosed that he was in Aso Rock to answer questions President Buhari had to ask on COVID-19 in Nigeria.

He said, “It is to answer a few questions that His Excellency had about the health sector which we took the opportunity to explain further. The takeaway is that we have been able to clarify a few things in question regarding the state we are in on the coronavirus disease outbreak in Nigeria.

“Well, I explained those problems, the situation and what the projection would be going forward and the measures we think would be very necessary at this time.”

Ministers donate 50% of March salary to combat COVID-19

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s 43 cabinet ministers have donated 50 per cent of their March 2020 salaries to support federal government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterdaty and made available to LEADERSHIP Weekend, the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, quoted the minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, who coordinated the donation, as saying it was a gesture of solidarity and support for federal government’s efforts to tackle the disease.

‘’This global virus outbreak will require nations, continents and smaller communities to pull together to contribute their resources and support one another. This will facilitate an early resolution of the problem,’’ Mohammed further quoted Senator Saraki as saying.

The ministers also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

NNPC assures of steady fuel supply

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured Nigerians of adequate fuel supply followingl implementation of sit-at-home order in some states to contain the spread of the COVID-19.

Group managing director,NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, who gave the assurance in a tweet on Saturday,  said supply of petroleum products would not be affected by the lockdown.

“States have all consented to allow movement of fuel trucks and operation of stations during any sit -at- home action.

“Our stock and supply plan are robust and there is no need to buy more than you require at any time. We will keep supplying, ” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some states including Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Rivers, Edo and Delta had issued directives advising people to stay at home to contain the virus.

Nigeria currently has 81 confirmed cases with three discharged persons and one death. (NAN)

Sanwo-Olu unveils 110-bed isolation centre

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has taken delivery of a 110-bed isolation facility on Lagos Island, where confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state can be managed and treated.

The facility was conceived and built in collaboration with the management of the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank).

Managing director of GTBank, Mr. Segun Agbaje, on Saturday, personally handed over the hospital facility to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, five days after the bank started the construction of the isolation centre sited on the main bowl of the Mobolaji Olufunsho Johnson Stadium in Onikan.

Sanwo-Olu lauded the bank’s management for the speed with which the structure was built, disclosing that the facility was equipped with world-class equipment and medical supplies that would aid the state government to deliver adequate care to those infected with COVID-19.

He said, “I am very excited to take possession of this 110-bed isolation facility which the Lagos State government and Guaranty Trust Bank have put together. In our assessment, it is a world-class facility which has been achieved within a week. Contractors at multilevel worked tirelessly to put up the structure.”

Presidential spokesman, Shehu, tests negative

Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, has tested negative to the dreaded Covid -19.

Shehu, who disclosed this on his twitter handle yesterday said it became imperative to disclose his test results following enquiries from friends.

He tweeted: “I think it is only fair that I ease the fears of my friends and relations with whom I made recent contacts about the coronavirus. Fake news media had said all sorts of rubbish about me and the president I work for.My test proved negative for the virus. Alhamdu Lillah. Notwithstanding, I advise everyone that we continue the isolation and work from home.”

Similarly, the presidency has refuted a report that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the distribution of N30,000 each to every Nigerian with Bank Verification Number (BVN).

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a tweet, said the supposed approval by the president was concocted.

He tweeted: “Fake news peddlers have concocted a statement, purportedly issued by me, saying federal government will pay N30,000 to each Nigerian with BVN, to help them stock up before an impending national lockdown. Not me.The so-called statement is hereby disclaimed.”  (Leadership)




Source: News Express

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