Nigeria: Bayelsa Imposes Stay-At-Home Order On Civil Servants, Suspends Burials, Weddings

26 March 2020

The Bayelsa State Government wednesday asked civil servants on Grade Levels 1 to 12 to stay at home for two weeks.

The government explained that only those on essential services such as medical and health workers, fire service personnel, cleaners and other related personnel were exempted from the temporary restriction.

The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku, who addressed the media after a meeting between Governor Douye Diri and the expanded multi-sectoral task force on the COVID-19 pandemic, said burial and wedding ceremonies have also been suspended in the state for the same period.

Apoku said other decisions reached by the committee included the review downward of the number of persons at worship centres and other public gatherings to 20 from the initial 50. The restriction order also affected night clubs and bars in the state as well as commercial vehicles and tricycles that had been directed by the state Ministry of Transport to reduce the number of passengers they carry.

Diri had earlier dispelled the rumour over his alleged contact with the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, who a few days ago tested positive to the virus.

He also explained his meeting with his Bauchi State counterpart, Senator Bala Mohammed, who also tested positive to the virus.

His Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said the governor cleared the air during an inspection tour of the isolation wards at the state-owned Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) in Okolobiri.

Senator Diri explained that he never met Kyari during the National Economic Council meeting at the State House in Abuja on March 19 but that he sat close to the Bauchi State governor due to the alphabetical sitting arrangement.

He said he learnt that Governor Mohammed reportedly tested positive after he had contact with the son of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who had also tested positive to the virus, but that the March 19 meeting was before Governor Mohammed and Atiku's son met.

"I have no link with Bala Mohammed and Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Buhari. What happened was that in the NEC meeting we normally sit in alphabetical order. After Bauchi is Bayelsa in the seating arrangement.

"When we had the meeting, he (Senator Bala) had not had any contact with Atiku's son or Abba Kyari. At that meeting, Kyari was not present. We were told he was in Germany. So, actually I am surprised about the speculation that I had contact with the Chief of Staff."

Diri expressed his government's preparedness to tackle any outbreak of the disease in the state.

He echoed the need for prevention and caution on the part of the citizenry by urging them to imbibe regular hand washing and use of sanitisers.

He equally commended the NDUTH for its ingenuity in the production of hand sanitisers and assured the institution of government's support to boost its production.

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