FG postpones lockdown on Ogun to Friday

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Having considered the negative effects and hardships the sudden lockdown declared by President Muhammadu Buhari on Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State on Monday secured waiver on total lockdown from the Federal Government.

This is in order to create time for residents of the state to stock foods and other daily needs before the lockdown take effect

Governor Abiodun, who declared that he had tested negative to Coronavirus after he had secretly subjected himself to self-isolation immediately he came back to the state from London and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum meeting held in Abuja about two weeks ago, explained that the declaration of emergency on the state which supposed to start Monday night had been shifted to Friday night for the state to be able to also distribute relief materials and foods to the residents.

Speaking at the unveiling of three Isolation centres in Ikenne, Sagamu and Abeokuta, totalling 300 beds on Tuesday, Governor Abiodun said, “After consultation with the Presidency, the interstate and international borders will close tonight at 11.00pm as directed by the President. However, the total lockdown of the state will be effective from 11pm on Friday, 3rd April, 2020.

“This is to enable us finalise the mechanisms for the distribution of relief materials and food items ahead of the total lockdown.

“Our government is conscious of the implications and discomfort associated with these measures. Nonetheless, we are constrained to do this because the available options are limited. Not taking these measures would have dire consequences.

“Coronavirus has upturned people’s lives and destinies and we have to fight with everything that we have, including stepping down our individual preferences and freedoms. These restrictions will be kept under constant review.

“We will relax them if the evidence makes it compelling. The restrictions are without prejudice to the need for people to reasonably move within their neighbourhoods to buy essentials such as food, drugs and access healthcare, as contained in Regulation 8 of Ogun State Corona Virus Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020.

“Let me now unveil new strategies to further flatten the curve of the spread, isolate and treat any positive case, and provide relief and succour to our people, in this trying time.

“Arrangements are at an advanced stage to establish our own biomedical laboratory so that we can test suspected cases in the state without going to Lagos or Abuja. This laboratory which will be in place by this weekend will minimize the test turn-around time which currently is between 3 – 5 days and fast-track the treatment of positive cases. It will also reduce period of apprehension and anxiety for those suspected of infection and their relations.

“To cushion the effect of the lockdown on our citizens, when finally ordered, food items and other palliatives will be provided in the next few days. The government is working out the modalities and engaging relevant stakeholders to particularly identify the poor and vulnerable groups and to ensure that the palliative and relief items reach the intended beneficiaries at the grassroots level.

“During the period of this lockdown, all markets, motor parks, public squares and high human-traffic areas will be fumigated and disinfected. To support the new facilities unveiled today, the state has procured five (5) ambulances.

“In furtherance of the earlier directive requiring not more than 20% of the state’s workforce to be at work, government now directs that ALL public servants in Ogun State should work from home, except those on essential services.

“The government hereby appeals to all retired health workers, those in the private sector and volunteers to come forward and make their services available to complement the efforts of our core medical and paramedical personnel.

“We appeal to our people to abide by these government orders, and the advisories provided by the ministry of health on hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and social distancing.”

RAZAQ AYINLA, Abeokuta

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