COVID-19: Security operatives flood FCT to enforce stay-at-home order

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…Workers on essential duties stranded at several bus stops in FCT

In order to curb the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, security operatives, especially the police have taken over movement situation of individuals in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The development is also to carry out the cessation of movement order placed on the FCT by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The police, according to our correspondent who monitored the situation ensured that all vehicles were subjected to stop and search while those without important reason were asked to go back home.

The roads are free and many are observing the stay-home-order.

It was observed that Markets were under lock and key following the presidential order.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) across Kuje were jam packed with people not observing the social distance order.

Most filling stations in Kuje are not dispensing fuel, while those dispensing are still selling at N125 per liter.

The Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello in a late briefing after an emergency meeting which was attended by the heads of the various military formations, paramilitary agencies and senior administrative staff of the FCTA, the Minister, in his words said that “all organs of the FCT Security Services and other government agencies have agreed and worked out modalities to ensure that all entry and exit points of the FCT and by extension, other satellite towns, are manned by relevant officials to ensure that everybody stays home.”
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While reiterating that the best way of overcoming the disease is by being disciplined and following all the prescribed measures by the health authorities which includes staying indoors with the exception of those legally permitted to move around, Bello said that defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted.

In his words “I want to also reiterate that except those that have been allowed and are exempted from this cessation of movement, all other citizens and residents of the FCT are enjoined to stay indoors. Where these regulations are flouted, I want to emphasize that the security agencies have been empowered to arrest and prosecute defaulters because we will not allow any individual or groups, as a result of their inability to honour this medical advice, jeopardize the health of multiples because as has been shown the world over, one of the greatest weapons to fight this disease is confinement and containment in one place. That way, contact tracing becomes much easier and those that are infected are easily provided medical services.”

On the palliative measures being put in place to cushion the effect of the cessation of movement on the more vulnerable members of the society, the Minister said that the FCT Palliative Committee is headed by the Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu and will be supported by the Chairman of the six Area Councils, traditional and religious authorities, NGOs and other support groups.

The Minister also said that the FCT already had modalities in place to identify the truly indigent members of society that will require assistance.

According to him: “the system of identifying vulnerable people within the FCT community is already in place, using the 60-ward structure of INEC, as well as the traditional and religious authorities. Within every community, those that are vulnerable are known and also, under our Social Development Secretariat, we already have a database of vulnerable people that have been taken care of under the conditional cash transfer”.

The FCTA, the Minister continued, will also tap into the data base of religious groups that already have records of the indigent in their various communities whom they have been assisting even prior to the current outbreak of Covid 19.

The minister reminded the residents of the FCT of their individual and collective responsibilities in fighting the disease.

Quoting President Muhammadu Buhari, Bello said: “as individuals, we remain the greatest weapon in fighting COVID 19. So, I’m appealing to all residents of the FCT to stay indoors and abide by all the regulations of the health and security authorities”.

It was also observed that essential workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), were stranded at several bus stops across Abuja.

Our correspondent who monitored the lockdown reports that most of them who are not mobile have to wait or trek to their various destinations.

Some of them who spoke with Press men said government would have provided an alternative before now.

They expressed displeasure over the situation, adding that the following days will not be easy for most essential workers.