The Niger State Legislature and Executive, are sharply divided over the duration of the curfew order imposed by the State Government, being part of measures to ensure that the coronavirus, Covid-19, does not spread to parts of the State, which at the moment has 7 people on self-quarantine.
Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, had in a State broadcast, ordered an 8am to 8pm curfew, aimed at controlling movements of persons, but the House of Assembly wants the restriction of movement time to be between 5pm and 8am.
Apart from suggesting the change of timing, the House during Tuesday’s plenary, also agreed that the word, ‘curfew’ be changed to, ‘restrictions’, on the grounds that the word curfew sounds despotic and unsuitable for the prevalent situation, hence can 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 will compound the problems of Nigerlites, than serving as a preventive measure, especially considering the fact that there has 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 is more suicidal than anything anyone can imagine”, he stated, and therefore, strongly suggested that the State Government reconsiders its position on the curfew.
Hon. Husseini Yabagi Akote, a Member representing Gbako, who also supported a review of the curfew, said that although the move was to prevent coronavirus threats, the economic and social impact of the restricting will be devastating to the masses.
Besides the change of the timing to 5pm and 8am, Hon. Husseini 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 5pm to 8am should be the period for restriction of movements.
The House also directed the Security Agencies to be civil in their handling of restriction of movements, and not harassing, intimidating, and extorting citizens, as they enforce the new order.
Meanwhile, the Niger State Government stated that the 8am to 8pm curfew still stands, just as it disclosed that 7 people are currently on self-quarantine, in Minna, the State capital, and Suleja, for coming in contact with somebody that contacted the virus.