By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Kaduna State Government has threatened to review the ongoing lockdown, by closing the two-day window that it has provided for residents to re-stock food supplies, if the people continue flouting the Quarantine Law.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe who handed down this warning on Monday, also said that Government has ordered security agents to deal decisively with violators henceforth.
A statement issued by Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye on Monday, said that Dr Balarabe is alarmed that some people take the Coronavirus disease for granted which explains why they are defying the lockdown.
It will be recalled that the State Government had reviewed the 24 hour lockdown last Wednesday, by giving a two-day window of Tuesday and Wednesday every week, to enable residents buy food and other essential commodities.
The Deputy Governor who noted that the restriction of movement has been serial violated, threatened to revert to the 24 hour lockdown, the Special Adviser quoted her as saying.
The statement further said that the State Task Force on Covid-19 met with representatives of traders and resolved that dealers of foodstuff and essential commodities are permitted to bring in and offload their goods five times in a week, including Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The Deputy Governor warned that only food and essential commodities will be sold on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when markets open, adding that ‘’sellers of other merchandise are not included in the exemption.’’
Dr Balarabe also advised residents to shop only in markets within their neighbourhoods as going to far-flung commercial hubs is not allowed.
The statement further advised traders and buyers to observe social distancing at the markets, warning that ‘’Kawo market will remain closed because it does not have space for social distancing.’’
The Deputy Governor warned traders to desist from hiking prices of commodities during this emergency period, describing the practice as callous, unacceptable and inhuman.
Dr Balarabe also warned that government will prosecute the people she referred to as ‘’unscrupulous traders’’ if they do not to desist from this un-Godly act.
‘’At this time, we will not just stand by and let a few elements add to the hardship already being faced because of selfishness,’’ she further warned.
The statement said that palliatives are being distributed from clusters to households and in some local governments, the target beneficiaries have already received deliveries.
‘’However, to ensure more transparency and accountability, the Palliatives Committee will work with credible Civil Society Organisations(CSOs), to monitor the distribution,’’ she added.
Dr Balarabe said that the administration has ‘’ put in place a robust system to check abuse and diversion of these essential commodities as a Government which is anchored on integrity.’’
‘’Notwithstanding, no system is completely foolproof and in any case, another layer of monitoring will only improve on what is on ground’’, the Deputy Governor argued.
Dr Balarabe also implored ‘’those that have been charged with the responsibility of identifying vulnerable groups and persons within communities to do so in a manner that depicts fairness, honesty and sincerity of purpose,’’ stressing that ‘’we all should be looking out for one another at this time and always.’’
The statement called on well meaning individuals to contribute either in cash or in kind, towards bringing succour to the needy.
According to Dr Balarabe, ‘’the Resource Mobilisation Committee will communicate to our major contractors, investors and corporate bodies, as well as donor agencies and development partners, soliciting for their support in that vein‘’
‘’In addition, modalities are being worked out to ensure that political appointees also contribute to this noble cause,’’ the statement further said.
The Deputy Governor promised that ‘’the cash donations will be put in dedicated bank accounts and will be used to fund COVID-19 related activities including procuring food items for the vulnerable persons within the society.’’
Dr Balarabe revealed that a company has offered to produce masks in Kaduna State, which will make it cheaper for all and sundry to use, all in a bid to contain the disease.
‘’Similarly, the United Kingdom’s Department of For International Development(DFID) has approached the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria(DICON), to supply raw materials for the production of hand sanitisers locally.’’
Dr Balarabe urged residents to continue passing on the message of social distancing, washing the hands regularly with soap and running water, so as to forestall community transmission of Covid 19.