Kaduna State Government has warned that henceforth traditional rulers will be sanctioned for any violation of the quarantine order in their communities.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe who gave the warning in a state broadcast on Thursday, said that ‘’community structures, from the Ward Head, Village Head and District Head, will be held accountable for violations of the quarantine order by people within domains.’’
Dr Balarabe also said that the administration is still collating reports from senior Government officials who monitored compliance of the directives that were given last Monday, specifying how residents should conduct themselves during the two-day window that was allowed for people to restock food items.
‘’Right now, we are collating reports of compliance to my directive that only sellers of food and other essential items should open for business, and compliance to non-hike of prices of food items. Appropriate actions will be taken according to findings,’’ she added.
Dr Balarabe threatened that ‘’if necessary, Government will invite the military to complement the efforts of the police in enforcing the Quarantine order across the state.’’
According to the Deputy Governor, ‘’from Thursday 9th April 2020, Government will go beyond advise, warnings and threats, to the vigorous enforcement of the order.’’
Dr Balarabe who said that she personally saw violations of the directive on social distancing at the Kaduna-Abuja expressway on Wednesday, revealed that commercial vehicles were loaded to the brim, adding that ‘’ I had to order such erring drivers to drop off some passengers.”
The Deputy Governor also lamented that ‘’safe corridor provided for travelers has been serially abused since the lockdown was imposed, on the pretext that these travelers were on transit, people from elsewhere have been coming into Kaduna in droves in violation of the Quarantine order. ‘’
Dr Balarabe who said that she finds this abuse unacceptable, said that she has ‘’directed that all entry points into the State should be closed and only authorised vehicles should be given passage,’’ adding that ‘’persons without valid passes have been strongly advised to cancel travel plans to Kaduna State.”
According to her, ‘all unauthorised vehicles will be turned back at our borders and those who insist in coming into Kaduna State will spend 14 days in a designated isolation facility.’’
‘’As from Thursday April 9, security agencies have been stationed at the Kaduna-Abuja express way, Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road, Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road, Kachia road, Bwari-Jere-Kagarko road, Gumel-Kwoi-Keffi road, Jos-Manchok road and Zaria-Funtua road, including all other entry points into Kaduna State,’’ she added.
Dr Balarabe said that ‘’in last few days, there have been suggestions from various quarters, pleading for a relaxation of the lockdown, especially to allow our Muslim and Christian faithful to observe Jumma’at prayers and church services respectively.’’
‘’According to these proponents, our restriction order is more stringent than other neighbouring states’ and that relaxing the lockdown, they argued, is necessary because ’the worst is over’, since we have kept Coronavirus at bay,’’ she said.
The Deputy Governor who is a medical Doctor, clarified ‘’that there are rules that guide these lockdowns as provided by relevant authorities. Going back on the lockdown at this point will make us loose all the gains that have been recorded so far. ‘’
According to her, predictions from the Risk Assessment conducted by medical experts , ‘’show that if the lockdown is faithfully implemented and people observe preventive measures handed down by health care professionals, Kaduna State will have fewer new case of COVID-19.’’
‘’However, if we waver, the State will be faced with the worst case scenario and we will have to deal with new cases exceeding 50,000. I am certain no one will want that to happen,’’ Dr Balarabe revealed.
The Deputy Governor said that ‘’Commissioner of Health has informed the State Standing Committee on Covid 19, that any time we record a new case, it sets us back by 14 days!’’
Dr Balarabe however said that Kaduna State Government will continue to review the situation and make adjustments as the situations dictate.
Deputy Governor Balarabe also said that in addition to the testing centre that the National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) will set up, ‘’the Government has been in talks with Ahmadu Bello University , Zaria, for use its Laboratory at the African Centre for Excellence for Neglected Tropical Diseases. ‘’
Besides that, Government is also considering other alternatives, she added.
According to Dr Balarabe, three days ago, I also inspected the Germfree Containerised Modular BSL-3 laboratory at Yusuf Dantsoho Memorial Hospital, Tudun Wada Kaduna. The NCDC team is in the state and we will work with the team to ensure we get the center up and running within the next few days.’’