Kaduna state government has threatened to invite soldiers to enforce the stay-at-home rule in the state, while warning that traditional rulers will be sanctioned for any violation of the quarantine order in their communities.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, speaking on Thursday in a broadcast, threatened, ‘’if necessary, government will invite the military to complement the efforts of the police in enforcing the quarantine order across the state. From Thursday 9th April 2020, government will go beyond advise, warnings and threats, to the vigorous enforcement of the order.
‘’Community structures from the Ward Head, Village Head and District Head, will be held accountable for violations of the quarantine order by people within domains. We are still collating reports from senior government officials who monitored compliance of the directives that were given last Monday, specifying how residents should conduct themselves during the two-day window that was allowed for people to restock food items.
‘’We are collating reports of compliance to my directive that only sellers of food and other essential items should open for business, and compliance to non-hike of prices of food items. Appropriate actions will be taken according to findings,’’ she added.
Dr Balarabe who said that she personally saw violations of the directive on social distancing at the Kaduna-Abuja expressway on Wednesday, revealed that commercial vehicles were loaded to the brim, adding that she had to order such erring drivers to drop off some passengers. According to Dr Balarabe, Christians and Muslims across the state have suggested variously that the curfew be relaxed to enable them observe the Easter services and Juma’at prayer, but that the prayers may not be granted as residents have refused to follow the laid down rules in the previous windows opened to enable residents stock up their food and other essentials.
“There have been suggestions from various quarters pleading for a relaxation of the lockdown, especially to allow our Muslim and Christian faithful to observe Jumma’at prayers and church services respectively.
‘’According to these proponents, our restriction order is more stringent than other neighbouring states’ and that relaxing the lockdown, they argued, is necessary because ’the worst is over’, since we have kept Coronavirus at bay,’’ she said.
But the Deputy Governor, who is a medical doctor, clarified ‘’that there are rules that guide these lockdowns as provided by relevant authorities. Going back on the lockdown at this point will make us loose all the gains that have been recorded so far.
“Predictions from the Risk Assessment conducted by medical experts show that if the lockdown is faithfully implemented and people observe preventive measures handed down by health care professionals, Kaduna state will have fewer new case of COVID-19.
‘’However, if we waver, the state will be faced with the worst case scenario and we will have to deal with new cases exceeding 50,000. I am certain no one will want that to happen. Commissioner of Health has informed the State Standing Committee on Covid 19, that any time we record a new case, it sets us back by 14 days!’’
Dr Balarabe however said that Kaduna state government will continue to review the situation and make adjustments as the situations dictate.
Deputy governor Balarabe said that government is considering alternative testing centers for Covid-19 apart from the one pledged by Federal Government. “Three days ago, i inspected the Germfree Containerised Modular BSL-3 laboratory at Yusuf Dantsoho Memorial Hospital, Tudun Wada Kaduna. The NCDC team is in the state and we will work with the team to ensure we get the center up and running within the next few days.’’