- 6am – 6pm lockdown, 6pm – 6am – dusk to dawn curfew
- Street traders, motorists in partial compliance
By EZE Amaeshi and AFAM Echi
In the frantic bid to further guard against the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the state, the Imo state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma has slammed a 24-hour curfew on the state, with stiff penalties against violators of the Executive order 001.
In the “Executive order 001 on COVID-19 lockdown and curfew” issued on Saturday, April 18, 2020, Governor Uzodinma declared the commitment of the state” to the enforcement of a total lockdown order of movement of person, except for those on essential services from 6am to 6pm daily.
It also stated that “the government of Imo state hereby imposes a dusk to dawn curfew in all parts of the state from 6am effective Saturday, April 18 till further notice”.
All borders leading in and out of Imo state are also closed and only Imo indigenes returning home, after proper identification, COVID-19 test and 14 days quarantine would be allowed to enter the state.
Any person who violates this order would be liable to seven (7) days community service or a fine in lieu. Violating tricycles would pay N7000 fine, motorcyclists would pay N7000, border violators would pay N10,000, cars would pay N20,000 and trucks would pay N50,000.
However, several Imolites spoken to by Edge Express Newspaper are united in condemning the measures imposed by the government. They have argued that in a situation where salaries of 2 months have not been paid and government has done nothing to ameliorate the hardship facing the people, it would be unjust to escalate the people’s hardship.
They also lamented the deployment of so many security check points across the state describing them as extortion points. The people also argued that since the coronavirus disease has not yet entered Imo state the wise thing to do should be to strictly close all entry points and all economic activity to flow in the state.
Some people believe it is a ploy by the administration to divert people’s attention from its failure to meet the expectations of the people in regularly paying salaries/pensions and providing quality leadership that impact positively on people’s lives.
Even as the government is tightening the noose the people appear nonchalant to the order as the citizens are still found on the streets and market places doing their business. The whole of Douglas, Rotibi and the Ekeukwu markets and other parts of Owerri, including motorists seemingly are in partial compliance. Edge Express inquiry reveals that the people are tired and hungry sitting at home for three weeks. Motorists spoken to on the matter indicate that they settle the security check points each time to pave their way through. Incidentally, the road blocks have turned toll points.