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COVID-19: Zulum orders total, uncompromising lockdown of Borno

The Periscope reporter

Some lockdown in some states like Adamaws, are reported to have been compromised at the border, which makes the citizenry COVID-19 vulnerable after having endured the restrictions order.

For Prof. Babagana Zulum, the Borno state governor, lockdown means a total lockdown without any corruption induced compromise.

Borno has been the worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency; thousands of lives are lost, hundreds of women and female students are abducted with some towns and villages revealing only some vestiges that they have once being lived in.

It will be another devastation should COVID-19 occupy the state. Nation is perished but once, a philosopher would say. A historian would add, quoting Ojukwu that no nation survived two civil wars. 

Following the confirmed case of a nurse killed by COVID-19 with 97 contacts currently under isolation,  Borno state Government has announced a total lockdown of the state.

The Borno state Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum in a state wide broadcast, Monday, held at the Government House in Maiduguri northeast Nigeria, said the lockdown would be for the initial period of 14 days. 

“In the exercise of the powers conferred on me, I have signed an executive order, declaring Covid-19 a dangerous disease.

“For this, I am hereby directing a lockdown that will require cessation of all movements in Borno State for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 10:30pm on Wednesday, 22nd of April, 2020.

“All citizens in Borno State are to stay in their homes. This means all public gatherings are restricted while offices and businesses in Borno State are to be fully closed during this period. Security and intelligence agencies have been briefed for enforcement.

“We are taking far reaching measures to ensure the virus does not take any more or health concern in any part of Borno State.

“Government will use this period of restriction to accelerate the tracing and isolation of persons who have been in contact with the index case.

“However, the restriction will not apply to providers of essential services, which the high powered team for prevention and control of Covid-19 in Borno State will make public”.

“Last night, the National Centre for Disease Control confirmed an index case of Covid-19, otherwise known as corona virus, in our dear state which took the live of one of us.

“Until his unfortunate death, the late health worker dedicated himself to providing humanitarian healthcare services to fellow citizens that were critically affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Borno state will forever be grateful for his services. We are also profoundly grateful to all healthcare service providers whose dedication to saving lives, will now be needed more than we ever did.

“Fellow citizens, our index case, as confirmed by the NCDC, has brought to us, a strong and dangerous warning. Covid-19 is real and it has reached us in Borno State.

“I am setting up a panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the outbreak and handling of the index case in Borno State.

“It is my considered view that government owes this duty to both those exposed to risk of infection and the deceased, whose values were against the spread of infection.

“May the Almighty Allah grant mercy to the deceased and all Nigerians who died in this pandemic.

“Of particular note, is Malam Abba Kyari, late chief of staff to the President, who died of Covid-19 in Lagos, on Friday.

“All over the world, healthcare workers are now adored more than before. And this is because, they are putting their lives on the line in trying to save others. We hold our health workers very dearly and for this reason, I am worried about the manner in which the index Covid-19 case in Borno State was handled.

“In the handling of that case, we have been confronted with not only losing a healthcare service provider but also exposing at least 100 persons to risk of infection. I am certain that with the manner in which the deceased gave commitment to humanitarian services, it could never have been his will to expose citizens, he worked hard to protect”, he added.

“With our 11-year burden of dealing with the Boko Haman insurgency and its mortal impacts, the coming of Covid-19 amounts to having fresh pepper on fresh injury.

“However, notwithstanding the dangers posed by Covid-19, it has three solutions and these solutions have the same word: Prevention! Prevention! Prevention!

“As part of measures, the state’s High powered team has traced 97 persons that believed to have made contacts with our index case. 35 of them were traced in Pulka town of Gwoza local government area and 64 in Maiduguri.

“A surveillance and case management team has also been deployed to Pulka, while an organisation, to which the index case had association, is to quarantine all persons who had contact with the index case.

“The state’s high powered team is ensuring this standard procedure is strictly complied with.

“I will like to clarify that tracing 97 interest persons does not amount to having 97 cases of Corona virus. We however await results from samples collected from these contacts, hoping we get good results.

“Fellow citizens, as we have seen from the wild-fire effects of Corona virus, one index case is enough reason for very serious concern.

“The high powered team under His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, has been directed to as from tomorrow, Tuesday, commence a daily centralised media briefing at 4pm.

“Location for the daily briefing will be announced by the team for the access of journalists who will be among those to be given permission on essential services.

“The high powered team will on daily basis provide citizens with timely updates and information on access to essential needs such as food, medical services and automated banking services,” Zulum said.

Zulum said thst government was very much aware of the peculiar challenges faced in Borno State and assured that government intended to be very particular about Internally Displaced Persons; as such, it would continue to support them, stressing that “as time passes,government will consider social interventions for vulnerable citizens.

“We recognize that the decision to impose restriction will cause difficulties and alter the plans we make differently.

However, as Covid-19 has reminded us, health comes ahead of everything we seek. We have taken necessary measures with the determination and hope to secure the lives of citizens in Borno State.

“We pray and hope that these measures, amongst other steps we are adopting will contribute significantly in controlling the spread of Corona virus in Borno State.

“Please stay safe and may God bless Borno State and the federal Republic of Nigeria,” Zulum said.

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