Text of the Address by His Excellency, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON, Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria on Monday April 27, 2020.
It is exactly four weeks since we commenced the Stay-At-Home and Dusk to Dawn curfew as part of actions to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ekiti State. While we have recorded some significant successes, the situation has also thrown up a new set of challenges that necessitates that we take stock, review and recommit ourselves to the goal of keeping our state coronavirus free.
I want to acknowledge the difficult sacrifices we have all made by observing the lock down in the last four weeks; though some residents refused to comply and many were apprehended and prosecuted to act as deterrence to others. That collective sacrifice has resulted in the slow rate of infection, but it has been devastating for the state and individual family economies.
Collective Pandemic Response Strategy for All States
As a nation, we have also come to realize that we need a collective strategy to combat this pandemic effectively. That is why the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, under my leadership, jointly agreed to coordinate the state governments’ response to COVID-19 along five general guidelines as follows:
Lockdown of all Interstate boundaries except for essential movements of food, medical and pharmaceuticals, beverages, petroleum products, agricultural products and construction industry.
Aviation and airports lockdown
Relax internal movements within the states based on each state’s assessment of their individual situation
Enforce the ban on large gatherings including religious, social, educational and political events.
Mandate and enforce the compulsory wearing of face masks if there is a need to go out
These measures have become necessary in view of the fact that interstate travel from the main epicenters of the outbreak have been responsible for the index cases of infection in many states, including here in Ekiti State. A coordinated restriction on interstate travel is thus expected to reduce the spread significantly with a view to quickly bringing the pandemic under control.
Ekiti kete, it is the desire of government that normal life and business activities be restored immediately in view of the economic pressure and loss of livelihood for many of our people, who are self-employed and daily income earners. However, the enemy we face is so deadly that we must prioritize the safety of lives, health and well-being of our people over other considerations. After all, in the words of the President of Ghana, His Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo, “We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life.”
We must therefore proceed with caution to ensure we do not lose all the advantages we have gained from the sacrifice of the past four weeks.
Pandemic Peak Projection Still Ahead
The scientists tell us that while Nigeria has succeeded in keeping confirmed infection numbers relatively low, we are still a few months away from the projected peak of the pandemic. That means we are not out of the woods yet, so in reviewing the lockdown, our actions must be cautious, gradual, deliberate and very firm; more importantly, they must be as advised by the medical and scientific experts at the frontline of this battle.
Reviewed Ekiti State Directives
After careful deliberation with the Task Force on the impact and gains of the last four weeks, and in view of the sudden spike in our confirmed cases from a total of four to eight with five active cases at the weekend, we cannot totally lift the lockdown without endangering Ekiti residents.
I have therefore decided that we shall proceed cautiously as follows:
Dusk to Dawn Curfew. There shall now be a 6pm – 6am curfew every day of the week until further notice. No movement of vehicle or human traffic whatsoever is allowed except for verified medical emergencies.
6-Day Lockdown Extension. The current lockdown directive which ends today Monday April 27th is hereby extended for another six days until 23:59 hours on Sunday May 3rd 2020. All conditions and exemptions remain in force during the extension.
Fresh Orders. Starting from Monday May 4th 2020,
Limited Resumption: Business activities will resume for only three days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) from the hours of 7am – 4 pm only, to allow the self-employed earn some income to feed their families and not wait solely on government for palliatives. Citizens must however observe social distancing, hand washing and wearing of masks at all times. Businesses must provide liquid soap and running water for hand washing while supermarkets should not have more than 10 persons at any time in their store. A more detailed guidelines would be made public after this broadcast. Businesses that do not comply will be shut down for 6 months.
Stay-at-home Directive. Restriction of movement will be enforced four days a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays). Only essential services including food, medical, beverages, petroleum, banks, agriculture, construction, select media and telecommunications are exempted from the restriction. Violators will be prosecuted and may be fined or imprisoned.
Ban on Large Gatherings. All large gatherings remain banned. No religious, social, political and educational gathering will be allowed to hold in Ekiti State until the pandemic is brought under control. Any facility that violates this directive may be shut down for not less than 12 months.
Boundary Lockdown. All travel from and into Ekiti State are hereby banned as all boundaries of Ekiti State will be on lockdown 24 hours daily. Only food, medical, beverages, petroleum, agriculture and construction supply trucks are exempted but they cannot have more than three persons per truck. Any vehicle caught in violation may be forfeited to the state and passengers prosecuted.
Compulsory Face masks: Wearing of face masks is now compulsory in Ekiti State. Everyone must wear a face mask when going out of the home so you don’t spread the virus to others. Residents are advised to make their own masks while government will provide masks for essential duty workers only. Guidelines on how to make them will be provided. Reusable fabric masks that can be washed after every use is appropriate. Face masks will be strictly enforced on the streets so, if you cannot wear a face mask, stay at home as you may be arrested and prosecuted for willfully endangering public health
Intra city Commercial Transportation. Commercial transportation will be allowed to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am-4pm only on condition that they comply with strict social distancing directives. Okadas can only carry one passenger, taxis not more than three passengers and tricycles not more than two passengers. Any driver who violates this directive will be arrested, prosecuted and may forfeit the vehicle or cycle to the government. If mass violation occurs, commercial transportation will be completely banned indefinitely.
Interstate travel is hereby restricted. Visits to or from Ekiti State is prohibited while the pandemic subsists. Insistent visitors must be prepared to be turned back or kept in our border town quarantine centers for 14 days minimum and shall be responsible for their own upkeep. Any private or commercial driver caught violating this directive will be arrested and prosecuted and may forfeit the vehicle to Ekiti State.
Major Markets Remain Closed. All major markets, including Oja Oba, Oja Bisi, Shasha and major local government market, remain closed every day of the week. Residents are advised to patronize the neighborhood markets or sell their wares from home. Violators will be arrested, prosecuted and may forfeit their goods to the state government or have their stores shut down for six months even after the pandemic is contained.
Public Service Resumption. In line with the directives, only officers in the following categories may report at their desks on authorized days and scrupulously adhere to the rules of social distancing:
Level 13 and above
Officers rendering essential services
Others as required by the Accounting Officers in the MDA
Palliatives. The Ekiti State Food Bank has distributed food packs to over 40,000 households across the 16 local government areas in the last one month. While we acknowledge that this is insufficient in a total lockdown, with the partial release of three days a week, most people should have the opportunity to work to feed their family. Food bank distribution will continue to support the very vulnerable throughout this extraordinary period as we receive donations in cash and kind to help the needy.
COVID-19 Testing. We are working to get a Test Center in Ekiti State as soon as possible. This will help us increase random community testing so we can isolate the infection early and remove from circulation to prevent more infections. Our aim is to test 10,000 persons between now and June.
Communications and Sensitization. We will increase our enlightenment and communications to ensure the public understand what to do to protect their families and prevent the transmission of the deadly virus. Feedback channels like the new COVID-19 hub- www.covid19.ekitistate.gov.ng are also available to all residents to reach the Task Force if there is a suspected case in your neighborhood.
Security. We shall continue to strengthen the safety and security structures across the state to protect law abiding citizens. Special focus will be given to all boundary communities in the state to strictly enforce restricted access into Ekiti State. Local Government Chairmen and Traditional Rulers of such communities must assume responsibility for strict compliance, especially on back roads or bush paths as we cannot afford another slip that could import the virus into the state.
Abduction of the Commissioner for Agriculture. We received the disturbing report that Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Folorunsho Olabode and some others were abducted by unknown gunmen yesterday evening on his way to Iye-Ekiti where he lives, and one person was shot. The unfortunate incident is already getting necessary action by the security agencies with a directive to secure their safe release. As you are all aware, we have been free of the threat of kidnapping in Ekiti State for sometime now and I want to assure you that this recent attempt will be promptly and firmly resisted. We cannot allow the fear of insecurity to compound our current struggle against a public health crisis.
Ekiti kete, these are trying times in the history of mankind that requires us all to be sober, alert and circumspect in order to protect ourselves, family, state and nation from being overwhelmed by an invisible but merciless virus that is wrecking havoc across the whole world. We must strike a delicate balance between protecting lives and upholding fundamental human rights. We must remember that where our rights end is where other people’s rights begin, so we must consider the safety of other Nigerians as important as our own safety. We cannot be selfish or self centered in our personal choices. We are in this together and we must win this battle together. These facts informed all the measures outlined in this address, so we can avoid further damage to the already weakened economic architecture of the state.
We shall continue to monitor the situation and if there is any reason to review these measures, we shall not hesitate to do so because our primary duty is to keep Ekiti people safe and secure. An expanded Executive Order for all these directives will be signed into law after this address to empower law enforcement agencies to ensure maximum compliance
I thank you for your cooperation and compliance.
Alale Ekiti a gbe wa leke ooo.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON