From SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri –
The governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni, has directed the closure of the state’s borders from midnight on Tuesday 31st March, 2020 to guard against possible spread of the deadly corona virus in the state.
A statement issued Sunday by the governor’s spokesperson, Mamman Mohammed, said this became necessary following the spike in the spread of the virus in the country.
According to the statement, the governor expressed gratitude to Allah (SWT) for sparing the state and its people since the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic, adding that notwithstanding the state’s zero status, government had taken precautionary measures by establishing well equipped isolation centers and constituting a committee on corona virus under the chairmanship of the state Deputy Governor, Idi Barde Gubana.
He also stated that a rapid response team has equally been established to closely monitor any suspicious cases, the statement said.
The statement adds that Governor Buni enjoined the people to adhere to the advice of medical experts by washing their hands frequently and avoiding crowded places.
Urging the people to continue to cooperate with government and all the relevant agencies for a collective approach in the fight against the pandemic, Governor Buni also called on traders not to hoard essential commodities or hike their prices, a situation that would create additional hardship for the people, the statement said.
The statement added that the governor called on the people to be calm and remain steadfast in their prayers for divine intervention in the state, Nigeria and the rest of the world.
In a related development, the Borno State High Powered Response Committee on the coronavirus rising from its emergency meeting Saturday ordered the closure all routes linking Maiduguri city, the state capital, from Tuesday 31st March, 2020.
In a statement signed by the state commissioner for information and home affairs, Babakura Abba Jatau and made available to journalists on Sunday, the committee described the closure as one of the measures being adopted by the state government to safegaurd lives and ensure the safety of all and sundry as the coronavirus pandemic rages on around the world.
The closure of these entry points is expected to last for two weeks in the first instance, the statement said.
The statement also said that Governor Babagana Zulum has approved that only vehicles and trucks conveying food items, medicine, fuel and other such goods would be allowed access to the state, adding that henceforth, the number of passengers allowable on commercial vehicles should not exceed three for taxis and two for tricycles (Keke).
Instructing civil servants from grade levels one to twelve to work from home during the period except for those on essential services, the statement called on all financial institutions and other businesses operating in the state to provide hand washing containers or hand sanitizers and temperature monitoring equipment at all their operational centres, as well as ensure the practice of social distancing in their premises.
The statement added that government has put in place palliative measures to cushion the hardship the restriction of movement may cause vulnerable people in the state, which includes ensuring that fuel, food, drugs and humanitarian and other essential services are available and sustained.
The governor urged all residents of the state to remain calme and intensify prayers for the end of the coronavirus pandemic, the statement said.