Edo and Kwara state governments on Friday said they were planning palliative measures for the vulnerable members of their states.
Kwara State Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi who is the state chairman, Technical Committee on COVID-19 told reporters in Ilorin that the government was considering palliative measures to support the poorest of the poor at this critical moment.
The Godwin Obaseki’s administration in Edo State also says it has concluded arrangements to give economic stimulus package to the vulnerable people in the state, to cushion the economic effect of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the state.
According to Kwara State Deputy Governor:”The committee will soon brief the public accordingly. But it is important to state that this period calls for personal and collective sacrifice to save all of us. Government will continue to do everything to support and protect the people,”
He hailed the people of the state for the excellent compliance with the partial lockdown of movement to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the state.
He said the compliance with the restrictions that began early Friday showed people’s understanding of the magnitude of the threat and appreciation of government’s efforts to enforce social distancing and protect the people.
He specifically commended the traditional and religious institutions, transport unions and opinion moulders for standing with the government’s efforts.
Alabi however clarified that fuel stations and banks have not been shut as they are in the same category with food and drug merchants which are critical for survival.
He warned against arbitrary hike in the price of essential commodities, saying: “Humanity is faced with a serious threat from a virus that has infected hundreds of thousands and killed thousands other worldwide. The least we need is exploitative attitude from suppliers and merchants of essential commodities at this critical time.
“The committee wishes to state that apart from the equipment newly installed at the isolation centre, brand new ICU equipment are today being installed at the Sobi Specialist Hospital to strengthen our preparedness. Even then, we wish to state that our priority as a government is to ensure that Kwara is free from this virus through various preventive measures we have taken and are still taking.
“The committee seriously frowns at the pocket of violations of the lockdown which are a threat to public health. The Committee warns defaulters to desist as the implementation committee has been given the mandate to enforce compliance with all measures put in place to safeguard Kwara from this deadly virus. We repeat: any violation of these measures is a threat to our existence.”
In Edo State, the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, yesterday assured that arrangements were being made to give economic stimulus package to the vulnerable people in the state.
He disclosed this at the Government House, Benin City, while briefing reporters on updates on the viral pandemic.
Shaibu, who disclosed that he tested negative for Coronavirus, reiterated that some top Edo government officials were in self isolation, while Obaseki was all right and working from home.
He said: “We undertook a tour of markets and observed partial compliance, as some people are still trading commodities, other than food items. This is unacceptable. Some of the areas and markets where the directives on social distancing policy have not been complied with are Market Square, Kada Mall and Santana Market, as well as some stalls in New Benin axis, among others. Security agencies are enjoined to work towards achieving full compliance.
“It was observed that a lot of transporters still flout the directive on social distancing in public buses and taxis. For emphasis, the policy is that for cars, they are to carry one passenger in front and two at the back. For buses, it remains one passenger in front and two on each row.
“We visited the isolation centre at the Edo government-owned Stella Obasanjo Hospital, Benin City to ascertain the level of preparedness. The centre is ready to attend to any case of infection in the state, even as we are expanding the capacity. At the moment, no patient is admitted. Governor Obaseki has ordered that all the patients at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital be evacuated and moved to Edo Specialist Hospital, Benin City. The Stella Obasanjo Hospital is to be sanitised and used both as a testing and isolation Centre for COVID-19 cases.”
In his remarks, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) Coordinator in the Southsouth, Dr. Wale Famiyesin, hailed Edo government for the structures and facilities put in place across the state to prevent further spread of Coronavirus.
Famiyesin noted that COVID-19 could not move, but people would move it from one location to another, while admonishing Edo people and other Nigerians to obey shutting of markets, social distance, regular handwash and covering of their noses and hands, not only for their interest, but for the sake of their families and other Nigerians.
The Field Epidemiologist of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Akinbiyi Olugbenga, while also speaking, urged Edo people to continue to support the efforts of the state government to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic, asking them to be patient and stay at home, while expressing optimistic that they would be happy at the end.