Niger Gov, House of Assembly Disagree on Curfew

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Laleye Dipo in Minna

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, and the state House of Assembly have disagreed over the curfew slammed on the state by the executive arm of the government as one of the steps designed to contain the COVID-19 in the state.

The governor had last Monday imposed a 12-hour curfew on the state starting from 8a.m. to 8p.m. commencing on Wednesday as part of the measures put in place to curtail the disease.

However, the Assembly at plenary yesterday disagreed with the governor, saying the period should be from 5p.m. to 8a.m.

The Assembly also frowned at the usage of the word ‘curfew’, saying it sounds ‘despotic’, and wants it changed to restriction.

Debating a motion of urgent state importance during plenary, the legislators submitted that the word ‘curfew’ is used only “during violent crisis.”

Moving the motion, Alhaji Abdulmalik Bosso said the dusk to dawn lockdown would worsen the situation in the state than serve as a preventative measure.

Bosso argued that “with the worsening poverty, hunger and suffering, stopping people from hustling for their daily survival was more suicidal than anything imaginable.”

He, therefore, called on the state government to reconsider its position on the curfew.

Also contributing to the debate, Alhaji Husseini Yabagi Akote, who represents Gbako state constituency, said though the move by the government was to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the economic and social impact of restricting movement of people will be devastating to the masses.

Virtually all the Assembly members spoke against the stand taken by the executive leading to the motion being passed.

Commenting on the decision of the House of Assembly, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Makun Sidi, said the decision to impose the curfew from 8a.m. to 8p.m. “is scientific,” adding that the government “wants to break the chain of transmission which is highest between 8a.m. and 8p.m.