Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai has extended the quarantine orders being enforced in the state for another 30 days based on the recommendation of the Standing Committee on COVID-19.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, said that the extension order starts with effect from Sunday.
The statement explained the two-day window during which the restriction of movement is relaxed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, has been reduced to only one day, clarifying ‘’henceforth, only Wednesdays will be lockdown-free until the trajectory of COVID-19 infections becomes clearer.”
According to Adekeye: ‘’With Covid-19 cases rising rapidly in neighbouring states and the FCT, and with strong evidence of interstate travel being a major means of spreading the virus, the Standing Committee’s evaluation is that measures to protect Kaduna State residents require further strengthening and more vigorous enforcement,’’ he said.
Adekeye also warned that ‘’all persons that venture out of their homes for whatever reason must wear facemasks and observe social distancing everywhere they go, in market sand in authorised vehicles.’’
’Government is making efforts to provide facemasks for poor and vulnerable residents, and it appeals to everyone that can afford it to get their tailors to make them cloth facemasks which they can wash after every use,’’ he added.
The statement added: ‘’Wearing of facemasks will be robustly enforced as a critical public health measure to reduce person-person transmission.’’
The Special Adviser reiterated that all the measures announced on 26th March 2020, to contain Covid-19 remain in force and have been renewed.
According to him, the measures were imposed 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.
Adekeye maintained that all residents of Kaduna State are quarantined and must stay at home, adding that ‘’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, water corporation, electricity distribution and security personnel. Tankers conveying fuel to petrol stations are also permitted to move,’’ he said.
The statement also exempted businesses in the food and pharmaceutical value-chain.
The statement warned that the ‘’quarantine Orders prescribe fines, imprisonment and forfeiture for violations of the provisions specified therein.’’
‘’The Kaduna State Government has clearly stated that no visitor is welcome to enter the state while the COVID-19 pandemic is raging. Entry into or passage through Kaduna State is prohibited whilst the Quarantine Orders remain in force.’’ He added.
According to him: ‘’Persons seeking to come into the state will be denied entry. Such persons will be given the option of returning to their take-off points or entering isolation for 14 days in locations and conditions that are so austere that nobody can mistake them for holiday resorts.’’
Adekeye further warned: ‘’the vehicles being used to enable such attempts to breach the quarantine conditions will be confiscated and forfeited to the government.
‘’The companies operating those vehicles will also be prosecuted and shall lose their license to operate in the state, even after the Covid-19 pandemic is contained.
‘’Within the state, vehicles of whatever type that are determined to be in violation will be confiscated and forfeited to the government, while the persons driving them will be fined, and may be imprisoned upon conviction.
‘’Motorcycle taxis and tricycles (popular known as Keke Napep) are prohibited in the state. Persons driving or riding in them shall be prosecuted while the vehicles shall be forfeited upon conviction.
‘’Mobile courts have been empowered by the Quarantine Orders to try violators and impose the prescribed penalties, including fines, imprisonment and forfeiture of vehicles, upon conviction.”