Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, has, in line with the lingering spread of the novel Coronavirus disease across the globe, declared a dusk to dawn curfew to lasts for fourteen days, as part of measures for containment of outbreak in the state.
Fayemi also disclosed that government cannot withstand a public health crisis as COVID-19, owing to the financial constraints currently affecting the state.
Fayemi in a state broadcast titled: “We Must Do More To Prevent An Outbreak In Ekiti State”, explained that the shut down was imperative to keep Ekiti people safe noting that the state does not have the resources to fight the scourge and could not afford a public health crisis.
He explained that the purpose of the curfew was to impose restrictions on the movement of persons and goods within Ekiti State for an initial period of fourteen days and to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the State.
Fayemi noted that any person who contravenes the regulations shall be guilty of an offence and, on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
“While I acknowledge our resilient nature, incurable optimism and spiritual activism as a people, it is critical that we balance these with pragmatic and urgent actions that can ensure the safety of lives for our families and communities. Unlike any other infection, the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus is a type the world has never seen, so there is no verified cure or medication to manage the effects of an infection. The only proven means of defeating this lethal enemy of the human race is PREVENTION. And these preventive steps must be taken individually and collectively for it to be effective.
“With the devastating impact this virus is having on more developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom, China, Italy, Spain and over 140 countries across the world, it is very clear to us that Nigeria, and especially Ekiti State, cannot afford a breakout of this virus on a large scale as we do not have the resources ; human and financial, to cope with a surge in positive cases of the coronavirus infection.
“If we do not take steps necessary to contain this virus, it has the potential to overwhelm our health infrastructure, cripple our economy and devastate Ekiti State in unimaginable proportions. As you are aware, the State is under significant financial constraints especially as a direct consequence of the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and the price of crude oil that has gone down considerably. So, we cannot afford a public health crisis.
”It is in urgent public interest that we must ensure strict compliance with all directives given to prevent community spreading of the disease. Therefore, in our collective interest and to further ensure the safety of Ekiti-kete, having declared Coronavirus (COVID- 19) an infectious disease in Ekiti State, I hereby, in pursuant to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) impose a curfew of movement in Ekiti State.
“Therefore, effective from 23H59 (11:59pm) on Monday, March 30, 2020 until 23H59 (11:59pm) on Monday, April 13, 2020, there shall be restriction of movement across the length and breadth of Ekiti State, with all our borders closed. That is a full and total shut down of Ekiti State, and a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew in Ekiti State from 7:00pm – 7:00 am. All Ekiti residents are hereby directed to STAY – AT – HOME.
According to the governor, during the stipulated period, movement between local governments is prohibited; movement between towns, villages and communities is also prohibited; as every person shall be confined to the place where he or she ordinarily resides in Ekiti State except those on essential assignments.
”Those who are performing essential services will be allowed to move around, particularly health workers, but must be duly designated with an identity card by the Head of their Institutions. Individuals and institutions providing the following services shall be exempted from the restrictions:
i. Members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary;
ii. Production, distribution and marketing of food and beverages,
pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages
iii. Environmental and sanitation activities
iv. Staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce
and digital service providers;
v. Members of security agencies assigned on lawful duties;
vi. Staff of Banks and similar financial institutions;
vii. Staff of fuel stations.
”All businesses and other entities shall cease operations during this period except those involved in the provision of essential goods or services. Markets, retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold and with strict hygienic conditions to prevent the exposure of persons to COVID-19.
“Religious gatherings e.g. worship and prayer services, night vigils, house fellowships and NASFAT meetings; Social gatherings e.g. Funerals, weddings, family meetings and parties of any kind in night clubs, bars, beer joints; and Political gatherings, e.g. rallies, congresses, ward meetings. All of these are prohibited activities under these regulations.
“All boundaries of Ekiti State are closed during this period, except for transportation of fuel, food and drugs and other essential goods. All non-residents who arrive the State prior to, or after, the imposition of this restriction, and who remain in the State, must remain in their place of temporary residence in the State for the duration of the 14 days, as the case may be, and may be subjected to screening for COVID-19 and be quarantined or isolated if necessary.
“All commuter transport services including bus services, taxi services, motor bikes (Okada) and tricycle services (Keke), are prohibited; except those for purposes of rendering essential services, obtaining essential goods, seeking medical attention, funeral services and to receive payment of social grants or food: Provided that such vehicle carries not more than 50% of the licensed capacity and all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the limitation of exposure of persons to COVID-19, are adhered to.
Fayemi said he had directed the Ministry of Health to begin the process of establishing a second isolation center in Ado-Ekiti. We currently have a 10-bed Isolation Center but we must begin to increase our capacity up to 100 beds with necessary medical equipment required to manage suffering patients. We have also ordered more PPE for our medical personnel to protect them from infection while caring for the sick.
“I am glad to report that as at this morning, Ekiti State has not recorded any additional case of confirmed coronavirus patient while our single patient is doing very well in our isolation center, still without showing any symptom. We are hopeful that his repeat test will come back negative so he can be discharged soon.
“I also want to acknowledge the patriotic residents who have acted responsibly in public interest by complying with the initial guidelines issued in my broadcast as part of our strategy to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in Ekiti State.
“However, it is very disappointing that some of us have either been lukewarm, nonchalant or downright defiant in observing the simple but extremely effective preventive actions of hand washing with soap under running water, coughing into the inner elbow and maintaining social distancing to protect themselves from infection and curtail the spread of the virus in their communities.
” As a government, to save the lives of Ekiti-kete is our topmost priority. Hence, it is my plea to you to continue staying wherever you are now within Ekiti State.The coming days are definitely going to be unusual and somewhat unpleasant, but if this is what it takes to ensure our collective safety, I urge you all to cooperate with the government and make the sacrifice.
“The measures we are taking now have been taken by more advanced and technically prepared government, all in the quest to curtail the spread of coronavirus and protect the life of the citizenry.
Coronavirus is not a respecter of persons, many highly placed persons have been infected all over the world, including in Nigeria. If you or anyone has been in contact with anyone who just arrived from abroad in the past 7 days, please call the emergency numbers immediately.
“Ekitikete, this administration is fully aware of the inconvenience these directives will have on our daily lives and livelihoods but it is the sacrifice we must all make to remain healthy and alive. To make this a little easier for us all, I hereby announce the following palliative measures especially for our high risk and vulnerable citizens.
a. March salaries have been paid last Thursday, 26th March so that civil and public servants can stock up on food and essential items necessary for the Stay-At-Home period. This was despite the fact that the FAAC disbursement for March was significantly lower than our salaries and many other states have found it difficult to pay March salaries. We are however, hopeful that subsequent months will not fail, though the implications of the global economy are not very encouraging as IMF formally announced that the world is now in recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.
b. I have directed that the Ekiti State Food Bank be reactivated immediately to provide food items to the poor and vulnerable families in our communities. The Task Force will announce the modalities as soon as the process is fully activated.
c. The State Government will consider providing a stipend to our self-employed citizens whose daily incomes will be interrupted at this time as subsidy for their loss of income. I have directed the Commissioners of Finance and Budget to advise on the amount the State can afford in view of our dire financial constraints.
d. We shall commence the disinfecting of major public places like markets, bus stops, motor parks, health facilities, and all likely places where the virus may be lurking across our State. Already, a massive cleanup and disinfection is ongoing in some locations in Ado-Ekiti e.g. Atikankan, Irona and Oja Oba areas and I am aware some Local Government Chairmen are already taking initiatives to dredge and clear drains within their jurisdictions.
e.Massive advocacy and sensitization is ongoing to advise you on the necessary preventive measures and how to identify and manage the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as what to do when you notice symptoms of fever, coughing, diarrhea or difficult breathing. Please remember that anyone can carry the Coronavirus even if they do not have any of these symptoms; that is why you must wash your hands regularly and abstain from bodily contact at this time
f. To protect our senior citizens who have been proven to be most vulnerable to this deadly virus please do not visit your elderly parents or family at this time to prevent the risk of infecting them. If they live with you, please keep them separate as much as possible. Do not let them share common household items like plates, spoons, towels, soaps at this period. We must keep them safe and healthy as much as we can.