Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has directed the closure of all markets in the state.
Lalong who gave the directive during a state broadcast urged residents to brace for harsh economic realities as the government’s recurrent expenditure other than salaries and pensions would be cut by 40 percent.
He said, “This period is one that we must face with optimism, prayers, and above all, caution and precaution.“With what we see around the world, especially in countries with higher standards of living, our best chance as a developing nation is prevention.
“In addition, all street trading, hawking and begging are prohibited. The weekly Sunday markets at Ahmadu Bello Way, Bukuru, and its environs are hereby banned.
“For the avoidance of doubt, recurrent expenditure other than salaries and pensions will be cut by 40 per cent; processes of fresh employment; implementation of the new minimum wage; funding of ongoing projects among others, will be affected in the interim. Similarly, all allowances of political office holders are hereby slashed by 50 per cent.”
The governor also viewed with dismay non-compliance with the outright suspension of anniversaries and cultural festivals as well as the inability of some schools to close as directed as an attempt to test the will of the government and endanger public safety and risk the lives of innocent citizens.
“I have directed security agencies to begin enforcement and anyone found violating these orders should be arrested. Should the situation continue this way, we shall not hesitate to impose a complete lockdown in order to save the lives of our people. “To ensure total compliance, the government has set up a task force on enforcement and monitoring, which will be personally chaired by me to coordinate, evaluate and review developments on the disease in the state,” he said.
The governor also said his administration had remained proactive in responding to the pandemic and also liaising closely with the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to tackle the disease.