Fred Itua, Abuja
In a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has announced that it will enforce the cessation of movement order placed on the FCT by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Minister of the FCT Muhammad Musa Bello revealed this following an emergency security meeting convened on Monday to discuss the modalities of enforcing the lockdown of the FCT for 14 days.
In a late briefing after the emergency meeting which was attended by the heads of the various military formations, paramilitary agencies and senior staff of the FCTA, the minister said everyone has agreed on the mode of enforcement.
“All organs of the FCT security services and other government agencies have agreed and worked out modalities to ensure that all entry and exit points of the FCT and, by extension, other satellite towns, are manned by relevant officials to ensure that everybody stays home,” the minister said.
While reiterating that the best way of overcoming the disease is by being disciplined and following all the prescribed measures by health authorities which includes staying indoors with the exception of those legally permitted to move around, Bello said defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted.
He said: “I want to also reiterate that except those that have been allowed and are exempted from this cessation of movement, all other citizens and residents of the FCT are enjoined to stay indoors.
“Where these regulations are flouted, I want to emphasise that the security agencies have been empowered to arrest and prosecute defaulters because we will not allow any individual or groups, as a result of their inability to honour this medical advice, jeopardise the health of multiples because as has been shown the world over, one of the greatest weapons to fight this disease is confinement and containment in one place.
“That way, contact tracing becomes much easier and those that are infected are easily provided medical services.”
On the palliative measures being put in place to cushion the effect of the cessation of movement on vulnerable members of the society, the minister said that the FCT Palliative Committee is headed by the Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, and will be supported by the chairmen of the six area councils of the territory, traditional and religious authorities, NGOs and other support groups.
The minister said that the FCT already has modalities in place to identify the truly indigent members of society that will require assistance.
According to him “the system of identifying vulnerable people within the FCT community is already in place, using the 60-ward structure of INEC, as well as the traditional and religious authorities.
“Within every community, those that are vulnerable are known and also, under our Social Development Secretariat, we already have a database of vulnerable people that have been taken care of under the conditional cash transfer.”
The FCTA, the minister continued, will also tap into the database of religious groups that already have records of the indigent in their various communities whom they have been assisting prior to the current outbreak of COVID-19.
Bello reminded the residents of the FCT of their individual and collective responsibilities in fighting the disease.
Quoting President Muhammadu Buhari, Bello said: “As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon in fighting COVID 19. So I’m appealing to all residents of the FCT to stay indoors and abide by all the regulations of the health and security authorities.”