The governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, said on Thursday that although the state has recorded cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would not enforce a total lockdown as part of measures to curb the spread of the disease.
Mr Mohammed who was the first index case of the COVID-19 in Bauchi before five other persons who came in contact with him were later confirmed to have tested positive, came out of isolation last week.
PREMIUM TIMES has reported how the state governor had violated the social distancing order by attending a Friday mosque service last week hours after he was discharged.
Speaking at the burnt Muda Lawan market that was gutted by fire Friday, Governor Mohammed said the people should take the issue of COVI-19 seriously. He said being a forme carrier of the virus, he stands amongst the best persons the people should listen to.
While assuring the people that his government would do all that it could to see that COVID-19 no longer exists or spreads in Bauchi, Mr Mohammed said the state cannot afford a total lockdown and restriction of movement.
“We are urging you to continue to know that COVID-19 is a reality,” he said.
“I have just come out of it, it is not a joke. We should continue to exercise social distancing. I am an index case number one of COVID-19. Allah in His infinite wisdom tested me with this disease, but I am free now. And I understand my friend has also tested negative and he has been discharged.
“I want to place on record that Bauchi has closed all its borders, we have just come from a meeting with all the security agencies; we are going to enforce some minimal lockdown because we cannot afford total lockdown because people must eat.
“But all our borders should remain closed because what is happening in Kano should be something that should worry us because whatever touches Kano, touches Bauchi. We are inexorably connected; if you have 20 cases in Kano, be sure we have to really man our borders to make sure that no goods, no vehicle and nobody comes from Kano, and nobody from your markets goes to Kano.
“This is a reality, and of course we too are not going to Gombe, Yobe, Jos and we are not going to Taraba. We should try to exist alone by ourselves within the state,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said with the contact-tracing of 350 persons that had contact with him and two other index cases, the state can boast of not having any case of COVID-19 that is currently being managed.
“We have made contact tracing of all the people that came in contact with me and the other two people, and now we have done 350 tests and we are still counting,” he said.
“There is no positivity to COVID-19 in Bauchi State. So we are getting free. I want our Imams, clergymen, and pastors to continue to pray for us so that Ebola, Coronavirus should not come to Bauchi.
“I want to seize the opportunity to say thank you for all the support and prayers you have done for me,” he said.
Compensation for victims of Bauchi market fire
Governor Mohammed who had earlier gone round parts of the burnt market had earlier declared that all the victims of the fire incident would be given some cash support to help them bounce back to business.
“We have come to commiserate with people at the Muda Lawan market over the monumental loss; we understand that 17 shops were burnt and one life was lost as a result of the fire that came from a vehicle that carried some mattresses,” he said.
Describing the fire incident as an act of God that no one could have averted, Mr Mohammed said the people should be grateful to God “who had reduced the enormity of the waste and the losses that we have seen here.”
He said “the state government will take steps to make sure we cushion the effect of the losses, by bringing some palliative immediately through the state emergency management agency, SEMA so that we pay some compensation to the traders for them to go back to business.
“And we will give the market association some contributions to make sure that the shops that have been burnt are rebuilt immediately.”