By Chuks Ekpeneru
Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi, has warned that residents of the state who flout restrictions on the movement of persons and goods risk been jailed.
In a broadcast to the people on Sunday, the governor ordered a lockdown of the state and directed residents to stay at home from Monday.
He also announced the closure of all borders as well as the movement of commuters across the state.
He announced ban on all commercial activities as well as intra state travels, except for those bordering on essential services.
He warned that violators of the latest measures that is aimed at checking further spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, risked a six-month jail term.
Ekiti State has one case of the coronavirus infection.
“It is very disappointing that some of us have either been lukewarm, nonchalant or downright defiant in observing the simple but extremely effective preventive measures as well as maintaining social distancing to protect themselves from infection and curtail the spread of the virus in their communities.
“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
“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 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.
“We cannot afford a public health crisis. It is therefore in urgent public interest that, 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 .
“The purpose of this curfew is to impose restrictions on the movement of persons and goods within Ekiti for an initial period of 14 days.
“Therefore, effective from 1:59pm on Monday, March 30, 2020 until 11:59pm on Monday, April 13, 2020, there shall be restriction of movement across the length and breadth of Ekiti, with all our borders closed.
“That is a full and total shutdown of Ekiti, and a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew in Ekiti from 7:00pm – 7:00 am. All Ekiti residents are hereby directed to stay at home
“We are implementing the Quarantine Act to keep all Ekiti residents safe. So let me be clear. If you do not go home or stay home for at least 14 days as from Monday, 30 March, 2020, you can face serious fines or prison term.
“During this period, movement between local governments areas is prohibited; movement between towns, villages and communities is also prohibited; every person shall be confined to the place where he or she ordinarily resides in Ekiti,” the governor stated.
According to him, all businesses and other entities should cease operations, except those involved in 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 like worship and prayer services, night vigils, house fellowships and NASFAT meetings; social gatherings like funerals, weddings, family meetings and parties of any kind in night clubs, bars, beer joints; and political gatherings like rallies, congresses, ward meetings, all of these are prohibited activities under these regulations.
“Only gathering in respect of funeral will be allowed but the attendance shall be limited to 20 persons with no night vigil or party.
“All boundaries of Ekiti 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, 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.
“Only 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,” Fayemi emphasised.
Fayemi promised that the government was working out palliatives for residents, especially high risk and vulnerable citizens view of the hardship the new measures would pose.