COVID-19: Ekiti relaxes lockdown, targets 20,000 households for relief materials
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi on Monday revealed that no fewer than 20,000 households are being targeted for the government’s palliative measures to cushion the effect of lockdown in the state occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fayemi also relaxed the lockdown imposed on the state by giving a directive that citizens are allowed to go about their normal activities between 6 am and 2 pm on Tuesday and Thursday this week to restock and undertake economic pursuits that would keep their households till the curfew will be lifted.
The governor had on March 29 announced 14 days lockdown as part of measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Speaking after emerging from self- isolation during the flagging off of the distribution of the relief materials at the government house ground in Ado-Ekiti, Fayemi explained that the materials mostly food items would be distributed to the poor and vulnerable citizens across the 16 local government areas.
He said, “I just got out of self-isolation this morning and this is the first state function I will perform. I decided to keep away from you in order not to return to self-isolation I had to observe as part of the ways to checkmate the spread of this COVID-19 virus.
“As a responsible government, we deemed it necessary to reach out to the vulnerable ones in our society, despite the financial situation of the state government, which is a direct reflection of the current global recession. This first phase of the package will be distributed to at least 20,000 vulnerable households across Ekiti State, while we are hoping to do more as resources permit.”
He warned government officials against sabotaging the distribution exercise, saying anyone cut would be punished.
“Under no circumstances should this palliative be tampered with until it gets to the right people. The programme is purely apolitical, it has no political colouration. Any government official or private citizen involved in unscrupulous practices with regards to the distribution of these items will be severely sanctioned.
“The targets are the aged, vulnerable and less fortunate in the society and let me say that whoever sabotage the programme will be severely sanctioned,” Fayemi said.
The governor noted that the curfew has to be relaxed to allow people restock, clarifying that the harsh measure was taken to protect the lives of the populace in view of the daunting nature of the spread.
“We want to appreciate the tolerance and support of our people since the lockdown began. We know that the spread of COVID- 19 was daunting, but with a unity of purpose, we will overcome.
“As part of the measures to protect our people, we shut down the state on March 29 for the initial 14 days with people restricted to their homes. But on Tuesday, April 7 and Thursday, April 9, our people are allowed to move about between the hours of 6 am and 2 pm to restock and the details of this will be made available later by the Ministry of Justice.
“We are particularly sorry for the hardship this lockdown and restriction has brought to our people, especially the poor ones.”
Fayemi said the government will work out modalities to give financial supports to those whose businesses had been adversely affected by the restriction slammed on the state.