COVID-19:Niger governor, lawmakers disagree over 8a.m to 8p.m curfew

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The Niger State Legislature and the Executive are sharply divided over the 8a.m to 8p.m curfew order imposed by the state government to ensure that Corona Virus (COVID 19) does not spread to the state which at the moment has 7 people on self quarantine in the state.

Duaglobalnews recalls that Governor Sani Bello had in a state broadcast ordered 8a.m to 8p.m order aimed at controlling movements of persons.

However the state House of Assembly disagreed with the duration of the curfew and wanted the restriction of movement time to be between 5p.m and 8a.m.

Apart from suggesting the change of timing, the House, during Tuesday plenary, also agreed that the word, ‘Curfew’ be changed to, ‘restrictions.”

The legislators anchored their argument on the ground that the word curfew sounded despotic and unsuitable for the prevalent situation,adding that it could only be used during violent crisis.

This action was sequel to a motion of urgent public importance moved by a member representing Bosso Constituency, Hon. Malik Madaki Bosso, against the dusk to dawn curfew imposed by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello.

Bosso argued that the dusk to down lockdown would compound the problems of the people rather than serving as a preventative measure, especially considering the fact that there had not been any trace of the virus or infected person anywhere in the state.

“With the worsening poverty, hunger and suffering, stopping people from hustling for their daily survival was more suicidal than anything anyone can imagine.”he said.

The lawmaker, therefore, suggested to the state government to reconsider its position on the curfew.

Hon. Husseini Yabagi Akote, a member representing Gbako who also supported a review of the curfew said although the move was to prevent Corona virus threats, the economic and social impact of the restriction, would be devastating to the masses.

Besides change of the timing to 5p.m and 8a.m, Ysbagi described other measures being put in place by the state government as commendable, especially the sensitisation campaign in local languages.

The House subsequently passed the motion after the debate with a resolution that the word ‘curfew’ be changed to ‘restriction’ and 5p.m to 8a.m should be the period for restriction of movements.

The House also directed the security agencies in the state to be civil in their handling of restriction of movements and not harassing, intimidating and extorting citizens as they enforce the new order.

Meanwhile, Niger state government said the 8a.m to 8p.m curfew stands.

It disclosed that 7 people were currently on self quarantine in Minna, the state capital and Suleja, for coming in contact with somebody that contacted the disease.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Muhammad Makun-Sidi disclosed this while briefing journalists yesterday in Minna.

He said that additional N100 million had been earmarked for the project and advised the people in the to report any suspected case to nearest health facility.

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