Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on Sunday announced a lockdown of the state, directing residents to stay at home from Monday.
The governor in a broadcast imposed a ban on all commercial activities as well as intra state travels, except for those bordering on essential services.
Fayemi said tanyone that violated the latest measures aimed at checking further spread of the Coronavirus Disease in the state risked a six months jail term.
The governor expressed regrets that past measures adopted by him to curtail the virus were being brazenly ignored.
He said: “It is very disappointing that some of us have either been lukewarm, nonchalant or downright defiant in observing the simple but extremely effective preventive measures as well as maintaining social distancing to protect themselves from infection and curtail the spread of the virus in their communities.
“While I acknowledge our resilient nature, incurable optimism and spiritual activism as a people, it is critical that we balance these with pragmatic and urgent actions that can ensure the safety of lives for our families and communities.
“If we do not take steps necessary to contain this virus, it has the potential to overwhelm our health infrastructure, cripple our economy and devastate Ekiti in unimaginable proportions.
“As you are aware, the state is under significant financial constraints especially as a direct consequence of the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and the price of crude oil that has gone down considerably.
“So, we cannot afford a public health crisis.
“It is therefore in urgent public interest that, I hereby, in pursuant to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) impose a curfew of movement in Ekiti.
“The purpose of this curfew is to impose restrictions on the movement of persons and goods within Ekiti for an initial period of 14 days.
“Therefore, effective from 1:59pm on Monday, March 30, 2020 until 11:59pm on Monday, April 13, 2020, there shall be restriction of movement across the length and breadth of Ekiti, with all our borders closed.
“That is a full and total shutdown of Ekiti, and a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew in Ekiti from 7:00pm – 7:00am. 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 14 days as from Monday, 30 March, 2020, you can face serious fines or prison term.
“During this period, movement between local governments areas 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.”
Fayemi emphasised that all businesses and other entities should cease operations during this period except those involved in the provision of essential goods or services.
He said: “Markets, retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold and with strict hygienic conditions to prevent the exposure of persons to COVID-19.
“Religious gatherings like worship and prayer services, night vigils, house fellowships and NASFAT meetings; social gatherings like funerals, weddings, family meetings and parties of any kind in night clubs, bars, beer joints; and political gatherings like rallies, congresses, ward meetings, all of these are prohibited activities under these regulations.
“Only gathering in respect of funeral will be allowed but the attendance shall be limited to 20 persons with no night vigil or party.
“All boundaries of Ekiti 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.
“All commuter transport services including bus services, taxi services, motor bikes (Okada) and tricycle services, are prohibited except those for purposes of rendering essential services, obtaining essential goods, seeking medical attention, funeral services and to receive payment of social grants or food.
“Only those who are performing essential services will be allowed to move around, particularly health workers, but must be duly designated with an identity card by the head of their institutions.”
Fayemi clarified that only few category of individuals and institutions providing certain critical services were exempted from the restrictions:
They include members of the state Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary;
The list also included persons in production, distribution and marketing of food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages, environmental and sanitation activities, staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce and digital service providers.
The rest were members of security agencies assigned on lawful duties; staff of banks and similar financial institutions and staff of fuel stations.
“Any person who contravenes these 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 fine and imprisonment,” the governor said.
Fayemi, who said he was aware of the negative consequences of the new development on businesses and families, said palliatives were being worked out for residents, especially high risk and vulnerable citizens.