COVID-19: Plateau Lockdown, Residents Are Counting Loses, Scarcity Of Water, High Prices Of Foodstuffs Takes Center Stage
Governor Simon Bako Lalong has introduced measures of handling the outbreak of COVID-19 as many citizens are suffering harsh economic situation without the palliative measures to cushion the high rate of poverty in the state.
Our medium gathered that households in Plateau state are now counting their loses owning to lack of foodstuffs and skyrocketed prices of foods in the open market with no price control.
Information reaching us indicated that water tanks employed to distribute drinking waters to residents are selling them to commercial vendors which many citizens can’t afford a drop of it.
Worried by the scarcity of foods waters they are calling on government to stop the continuation enforcement of total lockdown which has already created fears and panic to vulnerable families.
We knew that this disease is destroying humanity but the most dangerous one now is hunger and lack of purchasing power because no one has visited our community since the outbreak of the pandemic under the present regime .
Most of residents in Jenta Adamu ,Jenta Mangoro ,Tudun wada ,kabong within suburb of the state capital are now licking their wounds of neglect and absence of government in the affected settlement.
Governor Simon Bako Lalong in his address says,” once again in continuation of our efforts to fight the Corona Virus Pandemic, which remains a major challenge to our health and livelihood”.
See Full Address below:
- Let me begin by appreciating you for the cooperation, loyalty and patriotism you have demonstrated at this difficult time when we are continuing the fight against an invisible but real enemy commonly referred to as COVID-19.
- Without your support and collaboration, Government would not have been able to address this challenge adequately. The journey is still far and we cannot be discouraged.
- You will recall that on Wednesday 15th April 2020, I addressed you on several issues including the extension of the total lockdown which began on 9th April to 23rd of April with the aim of curtailing the outbreak and spread of the disease in the State.
- However, we gave a window from 11pm, Wednesday 15th April 2020, to 12 midnight of Sunday 19th April 2020, for the total lockdown to be relaxed to enable people go out to restock their homes.
- During that broadcast, I directed further strengthening of our borders to ensure compliance with Government directive on closure of all entry and exit routes to our State.
- To ensure that the challenges of violations and compromise were checked, I directed the installation of CCTV cameras as well as discreet monitoring. This has helped us to monitor happenings around the official borders and identify the loopholes, which we are finding solutions for.
- While I commend officers and men of various security organisations, Vigilante Services and Neighbourhood Watch Groups for doing their best to secure our borders at this critical time, the challenge of illegal routes and compromises persists.
- This is a major challenge that we shall continue to tackle especially with the cooperation of other States as canvassed by the Nigerian Governors Forum.
- Nevertheless, we have continued to arrest and try violators of the lockdown order in Mobile Courts while quarantining those who come in from other States. From the commencement of the second phase of the lockdown, we have arrested, tried and convicted 769 violators. This brings to a total of 1,607 convictions so far.
- We have also continued our surveillance, contact tracing and investigation of suspected cases. As of today, we have investigated 231 cases and quarantined 221 people who came in from States with COVID-19 cases in our facilities in Heipang and Mangu. Thirty three (33) others have been discharged from self-isolation.
- Of all the investigated cases, none has been confirmed positive, and we are currently awaiting seven more results. We have equally activated isolation centres in Shendam and Pankshin as we continue to build our capacity to handle this challenge.
- Again, we have continued to learn more lessons on how best to respond to this global emergency and ensure that we reduce the possibility of an outbreak of COVID-19 in our State while preparing for any eventuality.
- As the total lockdown elapses by midnight today 23rd April 2020, Government has adopted the following decisions:
- The total lockdown will be relaxed from Midnight of Thursday 23rd April 2020 to 12th Midnight of Sunday 26th April 2020 to enable people again re-stock their homes. Thereafter, the total lockdown will resume on Monday 27th April 2020. However, Details of the next phase of the lockdown will be issued in due course.
- By implication, the earlier restrictions remain. For the avoidance of doubt, all other markets remain closed except those selling food items, pharmaceuticals and cooking gas. In addition, all illegal street trading, street hawking, and begging are prohibited.
The illegal Sunday markets on Ahmadu Bello Way, Bukuru and environs remain banned. Social joints, Nightclubs, drinking parlours are to remain closed, while restaurants are advised to prepare take aways for their customers to avoid crowding.
iii. For those selling items other than food, water and pharmaceuticals, Government will allow them opportunity to sell their goods to customers on demand. Therefore, their shops shall remain locked but they can display their phone numbers for customers to contact them where they can open to deliver the items and lock back immediately. No such shop will be allowed to remain open.
- Motor parks are to capture and keep data including contacts of all inbound and outbound passengers as well as adhere strictly to social distancing and mass gathering prohibition order as well as hygiene regulations.
- Commercial Vehicle Operators (Keke Napep, Cars and Buses) are to abide by restriction on the number of passenger to carry, which have been spelled out as 1, 4 and 6 respectively. Let me again express dismay on the consistent non-compliant attitude of Keke Napep Operators who most often carry double the stipulated number of passengers. This contradicts the ideals of social distancing and other sanitation guidelines. Henceforth, Government will not hesitate to place total ban on their operations if the lawlessness continues.
- Places of worship are to strictly adhere to the 50 persons provision, while maintaining social distancing and hygiene regulations. The ban on all anniversaries and cultural festivals remain in force.
vii. Farmers, particularly in the rural areas are exempted from the restrictions, as they are required to go to their farms within their villages now that the rains have started.
However, they are to observe all guidelines for social distancing and hygiene. Similarly, those selling fertilizers, insecticides, seeds and other farm essentials are to operate.
viii. In addition to the exemption of essential workers earlier announced, producers of food such as bread, water and beverages are also exempted.
- The mobile courts are to remain in place to try violators of Government directives.
- Considering the grave danger that Almajiri children are exposed to as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I am directing the immediate profiling and return of all Almajiris from Plateau State to their respective States of origin to join their families and guardians. Accordingly, I have set up a Committee for the immediate profiling and return of Almajiris to be headed by Brig. General Salihu Inusa (rtd).
- This action is in tandem with the resolution of the Northern Governors Forum, which agreed to act in unison to protect these vulnerable children and further reduce the chances for the spread of the disease.
xii. Citizens are strongly advised to use Face Masks as often as possible especially where they are in contact with others in order to cut down chances of infection and transmission of COVID-19. People above 65 years are also advised to strongly avoid unnecessary movements as they are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection.
xiii. Hotels are to adhere strictly to the documentation and reporting of guests and their destinations. I will be obtaining daily reports on this.
- Fellow Compatriots, Government is aware of the hardship being faced by our citizens particularly the vulnerable and weak. The palliative Committee headed by the Deputy Governor Prof. Sonni Tyoden will commence distribution to those who are truly in need by Saturday 25th April 2020.
- For civil servants and pensioners, our administration will continue to honour its pledge to pay salaries and pensions as and when due. I have therefore directed the Commissioner of Finance to ensure that in the next few days, people start getting their alerts for April emoluments.
- In order to ensure our economic future, I have equally directed the State Economic Advisory Council headed by Chief Ezekiel Gomos, to brainstorm and come up with practical and comprehensive strategies on the sustainability and continuation of the State Economy during and after COVID-19.
- The responsibility of curbing COVID-19 is for all of us and as such, citizens must be highly vigilant and report any suspected case or arrivals from outside the State to relevant authorities for prompt action.
- Let me reiterate that COVID-19 is not a death sentence and there is absolutely no reason for stigmatization and discrimination. From statistics available, the survival rate is higher than that of many diseases that are common to us.
- Instead of stigmatizing people who are not even confirmed to have the disease, let us encourage testing which is one way of identifying cases and reducing community transmission. With the NVRI Testing Centre operational, let us take advantage to safeguard our State.
- Let me now thank all corporate organisations and individuals who have continued to contribute in kind and in cash to the Plateau State COVID-19 Endowment Fund. The Government and people of Plateau State are indeed grateful.
- I call on all citizens especially religious, traditional, political and community leaders to continue to sensitise their people towards adherence to all guidelines in preventing this disease. Our best chance of defeating COVID-19 still remains PREVENTION.
- Finally, I charge all Local Government Chairmen and their Managements to continue with the good work they have done so far in securing their borders, sensitizing their people and ensuring compliance to Government directives.
- God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria, God bless Plateau State.
- Thank you
Rt. Hon. (Dr). Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG
Executive Governor, Plateau State & Chairman,
Northern Governors Forum.
23rd April 2020.