By John Shiklam
The Kaduna State Government has threatened to suspend the two-day window provided for residents to re-stock food supplies, if the Quarantine Law continues to be flouted by the people.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, who handed down this warning in a statement on Monday, said government has directed security agents to deal decisively with violators henceforth.
Balarabe said she was alarmed that some people take the coronavirus disease for granted which explains why they are defying the lockdown.
The state government had last Wednesday reviewed the 24-hour lockdown and allowed a two-day window on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, every week to enable residents buy food and other essential commodities.
She regretted that the restriction of movement has been serially violated, threatening that government will have no choice than to revert to the 24-hour lockdown.
The statement further said that the State Task Force on Covid-19 had met with the representatives of traders and resolved that dealers of foodstuff and essential commodities are permitted to bring in and offload their goods five times in a week, including Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The deputy governor warned that only food and essential commodities will be sold on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when markets open, adding that ‘’sellers of other merchandise are not included in the exemption’’.
She advised residents to shop only in markets within their neighbourhoods as going to far-flung commercial hubs is not allowed.
The statement further advised traders and buyers to observe social distancing at the markets, warning that: ‘’Kawo market will remain closed because it does not have space for social distancing.’’
The deputy governor also warned traders to desist from hiking prices of commodities during this emergency period, describing the practice as callous, unacceptable and inhuman, adding to that government will prosecute ‘’unscrupulous traders’’ if they do not to desist from the un-Godly act.
The statement said that palliatives are being distributed from clusters to households and in some local governments, the target beneficiaries have already received deliveries.
‘’However, to ensure more transparency and accountability, the Palliatives Committee will work with credible Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to monitor the distribution,’’ she said.
According to her, the state government has ‘’put in place a robust system to check abuse and diversion of these essential commodities as a government which is anchored on integrity”.
The statement also called on well meaning individuals to contribute either in cash or in kind towards bringing succour to the needy.
“The Resource Mobilisation Committee will communicate to our major contractors, investors and corporate bodies, as well as donor agencies and development partners, to solicit for their support in that vein.
‘’In addition, modalities are being worked out to ensure that political appointees also contribute to this noble cause,’’ the statement said.
Balarabe revealed that a company has offered to produce masks in Kaduna State, which will make it cheaper for all and sundry to use, in a bid to contain the disease.
‘’Similarly, the United Kingdom’s Department of for International Development (DFID) has approached the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to supply raw materials for the production of hand sanitisers locally,” she said.