Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has ordered partial lockdown and suspension of all market activities in the state beginning April 26.
In a statewide broadcast on COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday in Bauchi, the capital, Gov Mohammed said the decision was a result of extensive consultations with major stakeholders including traditional rulers, Imams, the Clergy, notable opinion leaders, and market groups as well as the state executive council.
The governor however added that the suspension would not affect dealers in essential food items such as grains, vegetables, perishables, among others.
“All markets including weekly markets in the state are hereby suspended, except dealers in essential food Items which include grains, vegetables and perishables which are allowed to operate.
“Departmental stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, and filling stations shall remain operational.
“Our lockdown is not a shutdown, it is a lockdown with a human face. Markets will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. effective from Sunday the 26th of April, 2020.
“Friday prayers which normally attract thousands of people as with church services, marriage gatherings, parties, condolence or Ta’aziyya, picnics, night clubs, sports, and other social activities are equally suspended,” he said.
Mohammed who also banned activities of all commercial motorcycles in the state said this was because some motorcyclists had migrated into the state due to their suspension from neighbouring states.
“I am sure you know that all of our neighboring states like Kano, Plateau, Jigawa, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Taraba, Kaduna, and FCT Abuja, have banned the operation of commercial motorcycles otherwise known as Achaba.
“Unfortunately, they have all relocated to our state, posing a serious threat to security. The government hereby bans the operation of Achaba in Bauchi State.
“However, in order to ensure that the attendant hardship that may arise from this ban is ameliorated, we intend to put in place some palliative measures.
“We will provide palliation in conjunction with the Keke NAPEP and Achaba Associations to establish a durable hire purchase scheme for KEKE NAPEP to cushion the effects of the ban.
“We will replicate this with the Nigerian Union of Transport Roads Workers (NURTW) to be executed through a revolving fund,” he said.
The governor assured residents that the government would live up to its responsibility by providing reliable leadership in the all-out war against the pandemic.
“Your sacrifice, patience, and understanding remain sources of encouragement to us in this regard.
“We must all come together to defeat coronavirus, we must never allow this virus to defeat us. Insha Allah, we will be safe,” he prayed.