By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
As part of efforts to curtail the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic in Ekiti, Governor Kayode Fayemi on Sunday took more stringent actions, by announcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew and closure of land borders.
The governor, in a statewide broadcast, said inter and intra-local government and towns’ movements are prohibited during the time the order will be in force.
Relaying his personal agony about Covid-19, Fayemi said: “I must confess that the period of waiting for the result of my test was a difficult moment for me. As a responsible leader, my thought was not about my result, but about people around me and those I have made contact with. The palpable fear of someone being infected through me was more tormenting than my own personal wellbeing.”
Fayemi also stated that the closure of stalls, shops and major markets still subsists, stating that violators shall be liable to imprisonment and fine.
The governor clarified that the purpose of this curfew is to impose restrictions on the movement of persons and goods within Ekiti State for an initial period of 14 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.
“Therefore, effective from 11:59pm on Monday, March 30, 2020 to Monday, April 13, 2020, there shall be restriction of movements across the length and breadth of Ekiti State, with all our borders closed. That is a full and total shutdown of Ekiti State, and a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew in Ekiti State 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 fourteen (14) days as from Monday, 30 March, 2020, you could face serious fines or prison term.
“During this period, movement between local governments 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 State.
“Only gathering in respect of funeral will be allowed but all boundaries of Ekiti State 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,” he said.
Fayemi directed that all commuter transport services including bus services, taxi services, motor bikes and tricycle services are prohibited; except those for purposes of rendering essential services.
He said any person who contravenes the regulations shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
The governor directed that the state Food Bank be reactivated immediately to provide food items for the poor and vulnerable families in communities in the state, adding that the task force will announce the modalities as soon as the process is fully activated.
He added that the government will consider providing a stipend to self-employed citizens whose daily income will be interrupted at this time as subsidy for their loss of income.
“I have directed the Commissioners for Finance and Budget to advise on the amount the state can afford in view of our dire financial constraints,” the governor stated.
He said that the government shall commence the disinfecting of major public places like markets, bus stops, motor parks, health facilities and all likely places where the virus may be lurking across our state.
According to him, “Already, a massive cleanup and disinfection is ongoing in some locations in Ado Ekiti e.g. Atikankan, Irona and Oja Oba areas and I am aware some local government chairmen are already taking initiatives to dredge and clear drains within their jurisdictions”.
Fayemi said the fight against coronavirus is a very expensive battle, especially for the people of the state, where they can barely meet regular obligations.
“I have therefore been holding meetings with development partners, philanthropic bodies and federal agencies to assist us in preventing an outbreak in Ekiti State by providing access to some of the support available nationally. We have also set up an Ekiti State COVID-19 Pandemic Support Account with UBA Current Account Number 1022752067 for donations towards our efforts in this regard.
“I want to thank all our citizens and political leaders who are providing hand sanitizers and information leaflets to their constituents as a way to sensitize and educate them on this virus. We encourage everyone to do all they can to ensure awareness, compliance and prevention in every farmstead and community in Ekiti State.
“Ekiti-kete, this indeed is a trying period, not only for our state or nation, but for the whole world. I therefore plead for your understanding and tolerance as we jointly fight and defeat this monster, COVID-19.
“As a government, to save the lives of Ekiti-kete is our topmost priority. Hence, it is my plea to you to continue staying wherever you are now within Ekiti State.
“The coming days are definitely going to be unusual and somewhat unpleasant, but if this is what it takes to ensure our collective safety, I urge you all to cooperate with the government and make the sacrifice,” he concluded.