Perturbed by the increasing cases of the coronavirus in parts of the World, including Nigeria, the Zonal Secretary of the South South All Progressives Congress, APC, David Okumgba, has called on religious leaders and patriotic citizens to join forces with government to eradicate the pandemic in the zone.
A press statement made available to Africa Update, on March 26, reads: “Against the backdrop of the hue and cry over the global health scourge of the coronavirus code-named COVID-19 and it’s ravaging wildfire in circa 192 countries of the world including Nigeria, I deem it necessary to lend my voice, alongside that of other patriotic country men and women, to charging all party faithfuls and supporters of the All Progressive Congress APC; the people of the south-south ethnic nationalities and indeed other residents in this geographical clime to be of good cheer, remain hopeful to God and adhere strictly to restriction orders and precautionary measures set up by constituted authorities to stern the spread of this pandemic.
“It is no longer news that about a forthnight ago, the entire country was thrown into panic over the reported outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria. With the progressive rise in casualties and one fatality recorded on Monday, 23rd March, 2020, the entire nation is currently grappling with panic, depression, psychological trauma and economic hardship as multiplier effects, to say the least.
“It is noteworthy, that in furtherance of her core mandate, to protecting the lives and property of Nigerians, the Federal Government of Nigeria had some days ago, via the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, rolled out series of measures targeted at testing, early detection, containment and drastical reduction of the risk of community spread.
“Also, conscientious authorities including state governments have followed suit with sensitisation, monitoring and enforcement to ensure citizens and residents conform strictly to laid down strategies and modalities to curb the further spread of this deadly virus.
“As a concerned citizen of this country and a development partner in the South-South project, I wish to state as follows:
i) That the COVID-19 is not a myth but a harsh reality; a deadly disease and is not to be doubted further.
ii) That it is medically proven that this disease is contagious through bodily contacts and respiratory transmission from infected persons.
iii) That the entire world is on a momentary lockdown just as world leaders (religious and political), scientists and other interested parties are relentlessly striving to solve this jigsaw puzzle which has cost mankind many lives.
“In the light of the above considerations, I encourage our people to:
a) Observe personal hygiene and safety standards by washing their hands regularly and application of sanitizers as often as necessary.
b) Maintain social distance by avoiding unnecessary mass gatherings, reduce social visits and remain at home if possible.
c) Be vigilant over their children, wards and siblings, with an aim to ensure safe practices in this era of “sit-at-home”.
d) Obey the ban and restrictions on inter-state and overseas travels whether through air, land or sea.
e) Be subjected to testing and self isolation if they recently returned to the country from abroad or had primary contact with such category of persons.
f) Make use of the emergency response numbers, furnished by the appropriate authorities and willingly submit themselves for further medical investigation and healthcare if they show symptoms of COVID-19 such are severe sore throat, prolonged dry cough, high body temperature etc.
“As painful and inconveniencing as these decisions may be, we should be reminded that there is always a sacrificial price to pay in order to win the ultimate prize in a theatre of war.
“Expectedly, i am equally been ruffled by the growing discomfort and attendant pain felt at this trying times and earnestly implore all stakeholders of the South-South extraction to collapse varied religious, political and social interests in our collective drive against this menace.
“Interventionist agencies of government, NGOs and good spirited individuals should also get involved in rural sensitisation outreach programs; provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and health kits; donation of relief materials and funds including radio jingles/television adverts to complement the efforts of the Federal Government in the war against the killer virus.
“Lastly and most profoundly, is the reality that nothing is impossible in the room of prayer. As such, I wish to make a passionate appeal to all our religious bodies to fervently seek the face of God and intercede for the country, as we hold on to our firm belief in the ability of the Almighty God to cleanse our land of this ravaging plague.
Together we can! “.