On June 9, the Kaduna State government relaxed restrictions imposed on the state to curtail the spread of COVID-19, a deadly respiratory ailment.
In a state-wide broadcast, the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, announced the re-opening of places of worship and many other businesses.
However, the relaxation followed laid down guidelines that must be followed by all places of worship and businesses that will resume activities.
Church services are allowed only on Sundays and Mosques are allowed to conduct only Friday Juma’at services, for the time being, subject to compliance with the safety stipulations in the guidelines.
Also, the restriction of intra-state movement was lifted, subject to a night-time curfew of 8 pm to 5am imposed in the state.
The guidelines also included the provision of hand sanitisers, washing of hands and wearing of face masks always.
The gesture was welcomed by most residents of the state who have been under quarantine for over 70 days with places of worship, as well as markets not selling essential goods, closed.
Meanwhile, the supposed good gesture of the state government may not yield benefits at the end as people in the state are not adhering to the guidelines as stated by the state government.
Violation of guidelines
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter took a walk around the popular Gumi market on Ahmadu Bello Way and many communities in the metropolis including, U/Rimi, Barnawa, Malali, U/Dosa, Sabon Tasha, Kakuri among others. Residents, traders and shop owners operated without adhering to social distancing or wearing of face masks.
Although the main Gumi market is not among those allowed to open, all the many plazas and big shops around its surrounding were opened for business.
It was like a normal busy market day before the Coronavirus pandemic.
People were seen going about their normal daily business without adhering to the social distancing order while many commuters – both in public and private cars were seen not wearing a face mask.
In most public transportation, bus drivers violated the only five-man passengers, they filled the busses with passengers, most of who did not wear a face mask.
Even tricycle riders filled up their popular ‘Keke Napep’ with passengers also not wearing face masks.
At some major plazas like the Royal Plaza along with the Gumi market, there was a provision of sanitizers and handwashing facilities.
Every person going into the market was asked to wear a face mask and apply hand sanitizer, but inside the market, social distancing did not exist.
Events like wedding ceremonies and parties are now taking place at weekends without social distancing in place.
Many residents who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on lack of adherence to the guidelines blamed poverty.
Abdulkadir Inuwa, a civil servant in the state, said people are not sure of the existence of the virus.
“Many people do not believe Coronavirus really exists. They see it as a government propaganda, so they go about doing their businesses at every opportunity without wearing a face mask and/or practising social distancing,” Mr Inuwa said.
Abdullah Isa, a trader said “I only hear people saying there is Coronavirus, calling figures but for once I never see one. I don’t care. It is just a lie and government propaganda.”
Stella Jatau, a shop owner, said “people are not sure and hunger is another reason. All they are after is what to eat because of poverty.
Shafiu Mohammed, a medical doctor, said it is quite unfortunate that people do not want to believe that Coronavirus is real.
“It is very sad that people still think this virus does not exist. We only need to keep telling them, making them understand the importance of practising social distancing and wearing a face mask once they are going out. And maybe the government should be strict in making sure people follow the orders.”
COVID-19 in Kaduna
According to the NCDC’s reports on the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria, Kaduna State stands at number nine with 818 cases.
554 have been discharged, while there are 263 active cases and 16 deaths.
Kaduna State has recorded a significant increase in the number of cases of Coronavirus. The NCDC COVID-19 cases as of Friday, July 3, shows that Kaduna recorded an increase of 17 more cases.