By Timothy Alao, Osogbo
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun has extended the state-wide lockdown, which is due to expire by midnight of Thursday, April 30, by another three days, starting from 11:59 pm of Thursday to Sunday, May 3, 2020.
Oyetola who made the announcement during a broadcast address on Thursday, noted that the move was to avoid escalation of community transmission of the Coronavirus, which he said could put lives of the people of the State at risk. He added that all prevailing lockdown conditions will subsist during this period.
The Governor, however, dislcosed that a gradual easing of the lockdown would begin from Monday, May 4, noting that new measures shall be enforced in line with the recommendations of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and the approval of President President Muhammadu Buhari.
“There shall be partial lockdown between 6 am and 5 pm from Monday to Thursday to enable the people go about their businesses and allow government to run. However, total lockdown shall be in force from 6 pm on Thursday to Sunday,” Oyetola announced.
He, however, said that ban on public, religious, political and educational gatherings remains in force, adding that all major markets shall remain shut. “Citizens must observe such protocols as social distancing, hand-washing and wearing of masks at all times in public places,” he stated.
The governor also said “businesses are expected to provide liquid soap and running water and hand sanitisers, while supermarkets should not have more than 10 persons at any time in their store. Inter-state travels are forbidden and as such, our boundaries remain closed.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there shall be no vehicular and human movement into and out of the State except trucks carrying medicals, beverages, foods, petroleum, construction and agriculture supplies. These supply vehicles shall not carry more than 3 persons.”
Oyetola also announced that intra-city commercial transportation would be allowed from Monday to Thursday every week between 6 and 5 pm, saying that transporters are required to adhere to strict social distancing directives.
“Commercial vehicles, that is, buses and taxis shall carry two passengers per row with each passenger sitting at the extreme end of the vehicle. While commercial motorcycles (Okada) shall carry one passenger, tricycles shall carry not more than 2 passengers and no passenger in front.
“Violators of the aforementioned directives will be prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the State. Any facility or establishment that violates the above directives will be shut down and any vehicle caught in violation will be forfeited to the State Government,” the governor warned.
Continuing, Oyetola said, “officers and staff on Grade Level 12 and above, Administrative Officers irrespective of their grade levels, those on essential services and those whose services may be required by the Accounting Officers are to report at their desks, Monday to Thursday at the usual working hours. They must adhere strictly to the protocols of the NCDC.”
The Governor said that the State government would continue to intensify efforts to increase COVID-19 testing in the State so as to be able to deal with the pandemic as quickly as possible.
While recalling that the 21-man Food and Relief Committee began distribution of palliatives on Tuesday, Oyetola assured that the Committee would in conjunction with relevant State government officials continue to source for and administer palliatives for the vulnerable in the State.
He thanked members of the Committee for their service to the State. “Their commitment demonstrates in clear terms that our most precious capital is our people. The people whom they have served selflessly have something to learn from their example and pass to posterity,” he added.
Governor Oyetola, who maintained that “COVID-19 transmission is a human error which occurs as a result of indiscipline and ignorance” appealed to residents of the State to obey the government’s directives in the collective interest of the State.
“My Dear Good People of Osun, the rise in our COVID-19 patients in the last four weeks were predominantly as a result of imported cases. We have been able to limit community transmission to its barest minimum as a result of your phenomenal cooperation and discipline. Our ability to continue on this path will determine the progress we shall make going forward.
“Let us therefore collectively focus on doing all it takes to hold this deadly virus in check and heal our land. Together, we can do it,” he said.