The Police Command in Kano on Tuesday confirmed it had arrested 30 youths allegedly involved in a football match in defiance to the lockdown order imposed on the state to contain the spread of the Coronavirus virus. Mr Abdullahi Haruna, the Commands’ spokesman, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano. Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje had, on April 14, ordered a total lock down of the state for 7-days, starting from April 16, as part of urgent measures to stem the spread of Coronavirus pandemic. A video that went viral on social media platforms on Monday, however, showed hundreds of enthusiastic soccer fans watching a football match in an undisclosed location in Kano metropolis, in defiance to the social distancing and lockdown order.
Youths were also seen playing football on streets in various locations of the metropolis since the inception of the lockdown in the past six-days. The Police spokesman disclosed that the suspects were arrested after being identified as playing football match in violation of the lockdown and social distancing regulation. According to him, the suspects were arrested on April 20, at about 5 p.m. after they played a football match in Dala Local Government Area (LGA) of the state. Haruna explained that the suspects were arrested “using Community Policing Approaches”. “The suspects were arrested for defying the lockdown order and playing a football match at Dala LGA in Kano metropolis. “Already, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Habu Sani, has ordered that the matter be transferred to the State Criminal Intelligence Department (SCID) for investigation, and the suspects will soon be arraigned.” The police spokesman urged the youths in the state to respect the lockdown order, practice social distancing and avoid playing football to prevent spread of COVID-19. Haruna said that the command had intensified patrol in the metropolis and other parts of the state to enforce compliance with the lockdown order. “Anyone found on the street playing football will be arrested and made to face the wrath of the law. “All public gatherings are banned; no roaming about will be tolerated,” he said. The spokesman called on the residents of the state to continue to cooperate with the police and other security agencies, and remain law abiding. He reiterated the commitment of the command to enforce the lockdown order to curb the spread of the global pandemic as well as protect lives and properties. Meanwhile, some residents of the metropolis have advised parents to monitor their wards’ movements in order to protect them and contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross section of the residents, who spoke to NAN in separate interviews, wondered why youths should play football at a time every one should be at home. “Such reckless disregard for government order is not in anyone’s interest,” a teacher, Abubakar Nuru, said. He urged parents, particularly mothers, to monitor their children so as to protect them from contracting the virus. Nuru said that something urgent needed to be done so that the goal of containing the spread of the virus by maintaining social distance would not be defeated.
Mr Kabiru Danlami, a health worker, lamented that most residents had failed to adhere to the social distancing and other preventive measures, and in spite of enlightenment and awareness creation efforts by health authorities and other relevant government agencies. “Some of the parents, who allow their children to move anyhow and play outside, are the ones jeopardising government efforts,” he lamented. Danlami stressed the need for attitudinal change to facilitate successful campaign against the pandemic.