For the second time in a month, Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has given some humane face to the blanket lockdown order slammed on the state by President Muhammadu Buhari as a means of slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Buhari’s earlier order of April 27, 2020 which outlawed movements within the state did not give consideration to the essential day-to-day needs of the majority, who are poor and vulnerable.
Ganduje however thawed the inevitable hardship occasioned by the order, providing windows for people to get the much needed food items for their families. He allowed some markets, supermarkets and retail shops to open and sell to people on Mondays and Thursdays.
Despite that, pressures have mounted on the governor to allow congregational prayers, especially on Fridays and the agitations have continued unabated until Friday when the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announced on behalf of the president that the lockdown has been extended for another two weeks
Like in the previous case, Friday’s extension of the lockdown was swiftly adjusted by the governor who, perhaps because he was more abreast of the reality on ground in his state, increased what he called “the partial lift on the lockdown” to three days, signifying that Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will henceforth be utilised for restocking of homes.
Obviously bowing to pressures from the home front, he also announced at a press briefing that Friday prayers would be observed under strict surveillance of the Hisbah corps who will ensure that social distancing and other hygiene measures are observed.
More importantly, he said his “government also consider (sic) it convenient to allow the conduct of Eid prayers in all the five Emirates in the state under strict observance of safety and prevention protocols.”
He said there would not be any Sallah festivities in all the “Emirates including he traditional Hawan Sallah.”
Ganduje’s orders in this regard have been hailed by most residence as “realistic and humane as it has forestalled an imminent showdown that would have rattled the whole state. With all due respect, President Buhari was just sitting down somewhere and dishing out orders that are not even reasonable. He wants to keep locking people down when nothing was working. No jobs, no food, no nothing. It is not workable”, Habib Garba wrote to Judicial Sketch Monday evening.
Healthcare personnel are however divided in their reaction to the governor’s position. Some said it could result in recklessness on the part of the people, while others said since COVID-19 has been understood better than before, time has come to begin to learn to live with it while life goes on.