Kaduna State Government has threatened to review the ongoing lockdown by closing the two-day window provided for residents to re-stock food supplies, if they continued flouting the stay-at-home law.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, who gave the warning on Monday in a statement, said that government had ordered security agents to deal decisively with violators henceforth.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalled that the state government had reviewed the 24-hour lockdown on April 1, giving a two-day window of Tuesday and Wednesday every week, to enable residents buy food and other essential commodities.
The statement was issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, and made available to newsmen in Kaduna.
Mrs Balarabe said she was alarmed that some people had not taken the Coronavirus disease seriously, which explained why they were defying the lockdown
She said that the restriction of movement had been violated and threatened to revert to the 24-hour lockdown.
She further said that the state Task Force on COVID-19 met with representatives of traders and resolved that foodstuff and essential commodities dealers are permitted to bring in and offload goods five times in a week.
According to her, the days are Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Mrs Balarabe warned that only food and essential commodities would be sold on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the markets open, adding that “sellers of other merchandise are not included in the exemption’’.
The deputy governor advised residents to shop only in markets within their neighbourhoods as going too far was not allowed.
She also urged traders and buyers to observe social distancing at the markets, declaring that Kawo market would remain closed because it does not have space for social distancing.
She further cautioned traders against hiking prices of commodities during the emergency period, describing the practice as callous, unacceptable and inhuman.
She said that the government would prosecute the people she referred to as ‘’unscrupulous traders’’ if they do not desist from the ungodly act.
‘’At this time, we will not just stand by and let a few elements add to the hardship already being faced because of selfishness,’’ she said.
On palliatives, Mrs Balarabe said they are being distributed from clusters to households and in some local governments and that 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 added.
Mrs Balarabe added that the administration has put robust system to check abuse and diversion of the essential commodities.
‘’Notwithstanding, no system is completely foolproof and in any case, another layer of monitoring will only improve on what is on ground’’, the deputy governor argued.
She urged those responsible for identifying vulnerable groups and persons within communities to do so in a manner that depicts fairness, honesty and sincerity of purpose.