Tony John, Port Harcourt, Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki, Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto and Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Rivers and Ebonyi State governments have closed all schools and directed all religious organisations to restrict their activities as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statewide broadcast on Friday, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said that the action was taken in the interest of Rivers State.
The closure affects public and private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. He said: “Based on the above precautionary measures, the state can be described to be at an alert state.” He said to further strengthen the state’s resolve to protect its citizens, all schools in the state are to be closed down with effect from Monday, March 23, 2020, and directed all religious organisations to restrict their activities.
“As you are aware, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described coronavirus as a global pandemic. This development calls for collective action by all well-meaning citizens.
“As a responsive government, even though we have not had a confirmed case of coronavirus, we did not rest on our oars as we set-up a five-man inter-ministerial committee to carry out an aggressive public enlightenment that will protect all those living and doing business in the state from the disease.
“This decision was taken because we understand that we are the headquarters of the hydrocarbon industry and also a major commercial hub in the country that attracts people from all walks of life.”
In the same vein, the Ebonyi state government has directed the immediate closure of all public and private schools across the 13 local government areas of the state. A statement by the Secretary to the State Government,Dr.Kenneth Ugbala, Ebonyi government also banned all religious gatherings attracting more than 50 persons.
The statement directed security agencies in the state to ensure that all schools within the state starting from nursery to tertiary levels were shut down before 12 noon on Friday 20th March, 2020.
Ugbala also directed the state Ministry of Health and the state committee on anti-corona virus to quickly deploy all health officers to all markets ,rice mills, quarry, banks and other service centres to carry out random tests on people.
“All the night clubs and other night activities are by this announcement closed down. Every gathering of more than 50 persons in our religious worship centers are hereby prohibited . All markets and religious centers must deploy a strategy of hand sanitizers and deploy other temperature checks at their entry and exit places.
“The state government shall meet with religious leaders in few days to discuss on the gathering of their worship centers. State shall also start on Monday the 23rd of March, to do stop and test to all people entering Ebonyi State as a way of safe guarding our people.
“The health workers are immediately directed by this announcement by Friday 20st March to move from house to house to use 150 infrared thermometer device to test all Ebonyians. Government of Ebonyi State has proactively built testing and quarantine centers at Unity square and the boarder between Enugu and Ebonyi and shall build more at all the exit and entery points of Ebonyi State as a way of ensuring that the health of every body entering or exiting Ebonyi State is ascertained’’, he said.
Meanwhile, the Sokoto State government has directed primary and secondary schools in the state, both public and private to shut down for a period of 30 days.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer, Sokoto State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Mura Bello Maikwachi said the closure takes effect from Monday 23rd March, 2020.
The statement further said the measure was in line with the decision taken at the meeting of North West governors held in Kaduna, to check the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
He added that Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal gave the directive which was announced by the State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Dr MB Abubakar Guiwa as part of efforts to forestall the threat being posed by coronavirus.
Also, Kano State government has instructed all state-owned tertiary institutions to comply with the Federal Government’s directives to close down schools for four weeks effect from 23rd March, 2020.
The Commissioner , Ministry of Higher Education, gave the directive in a press release signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Sunusi Abdullahi KofarNaisa,
The Ministry said that the instruction has become necessary as part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of corona virus ( Covid-19). The Ministry urged the people of the state to continue praying for protection.