Niger Relaxes Lockdown, Opens Markets, Banks

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By Laleye Dipo

After almost three months of lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Niger State Government on Tuesday relaxed the lockdown imposed on the state.

Apart from opening the markets, departmental stores and other business outfits, the government said that the curfew in the state will now be from 10pm to 4am.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, who announced the measures in Minna after a meeting with officials of the state Covid-19 Task Force, said traders and proprietors of other business outfits must however ensure strict compliance with the regulations put in place by health authorities for the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic including social distancing and wearing of masks.

However, Governor Bello directed that all civil servants apart from those on level 14 and above should continue to remain at home but exempted those on essential services.

He also retained the ban on inter state travels except for vehicles conveying food items and other goods, adding that the ban on intra state movements has been lifted, while the use of okada for commercial transportation is outlawed.

The governor directed the Ministry of Education to organise a meeting with relevant stakeholders to come out with a policy on the reopening of educational institutions which for now remains closed.

He also said that wearing of masks in public places is compulsory and asked law enforcement agencies to apprehend and prosecute offenders.

Bello said government will collaborate with the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai for the construction of a testing laboratory in the institution.