Kaduna State Government has threatened to review the ongoing lockdown, by closing the two-day window provided for residents to re-stock food supplies, if they continue flouting the quarantine law.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe who gave the warning on Monday in a statement said that Government has ordered security agents to deal decisively with violators henceforth.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the state government had reviewed the 24-hour lockdown on April 1, by giving a two-day window of Tuesday and Wednesday every week, to enable residents to buy food and other essential commodities.
The statement was issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye and made available to newsmen in Kaduna.
Balarabe said she was alarmed that some people took the Coronavirus disease for granted which explained why they are defying the lockdown.
She said that the restriction of movement has been violated and threatened to revert to the 24-hour lockdown.
She further said that the state Task Force on COVID-19 met with representatives of traders and resolved that foodstuff and essential commodities dealers are permitted to bring in and offload goods five times in a week.
According to her, the days are; Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Balarabe warned that only food and essential commodities would be sold on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the markets open, adding that “sellers of other merchandise are not included in the exemption.’’
The deputy governor advised residents to shop only in markets within their neighbourhoods as going to far for commercial hubs are not allowed.
She also urged 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.”
She further cautioned traders against hiking prices of commodities during the emergency period, describing the practice as callous, unacceptable and inhuman.
She said that the government would prosecute the people she referred to as ‘’unscrupulous traders’’ if they do not desist from the ungodly 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 said.
On palliatives, Balarabe said they are being distributed from clusters to households and in some local governments and that 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.
Balarabe added that the administration has put robust system to check abuse and diversion of the essential commodities.
‘’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.
She urged those responsible for identifying vulnerable groups and persons within communities to do so in a manner that depicts fairness, honesty, and sincerity of purpose.