By Kayode Fasua
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s extension of the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States, the governor of Ogun, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has backed down from his offer of a seven-hour, every other day relaxation of the lockdown order in his state.
Therefore, as from Saturday, the state begins a total lockdown, as directed by the President, in a bid to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
Governor Abidoun, in a statement on Tuesday night, commended Buhari “for providing the necessary leadership, especially for the federal government’s efforts at combating the deadly Coronavirus in the country.
Abiodun, however, enjoined citizens and residents of the state to endure the 14-day extension of the lockdown and consider it a necessary sacrifice to defeat “an invisible and deadly enemy that requires its victims as unwitting vectors of its deadly venom”.
“We must deny the virus the vital supply chain required to decimate humanity, by complying with all the social distancing measures and maintaining personal hygiene.” the governor urged.
His administration, he added, remains committed in its twin-responsibility of protecting lives and properties in the state, and ensuring the welfare of the residents.
The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has created an unusual challenge to strike a delicate balance of need for public safety and welfare of the citizenry.
“Therefore, the current window of relaxation of the lockdown in the state from 7.00am to 2.00pm, which follows the same pattern of last week, will still be available for this Wednesday (15th April) and Friday (17th April, 2020) only.
“This is to allow the residents prepare for the extension of the lockdown and restock on food and other essential items. However, Ogun State borders remain closed.
“It should be emphasised that people should only go out if they need to and are required at all times when outside their homes to wear a facemask, including locally made face masks, even as they observe other social distancing measures.
“The state will soon commence strict enforcement of wearing of face mask in the public as it has been shown to help flatten the spread of the virus,” Abiodun declared.
The governor also announced that the distribution mechanism of the state’s relief materials had been fine-tuned to make it more effective and efficient in the delivery to the target population of the elderly, the poor and the vulnerable.
The new mechanism, he stressed, has incorporated the lesson learned from the experience of the first phase, even as he reassured the citizens that the materials would get to the deserving households sooner than later.
The governor’s statement, issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kunle Somorin, also noted that the relief items had thus far been distributed to over 60,000 households of the elderly, the poor and the vulnerable in the state; covering about 300,000 individuals and that the next phase of distribution will include additional 80,000 households of estimated 400,000 people across the 236 wards.
Abidoun particularly thanked the security agencies for moving swiftly to curtail the nefarious activities around the state’s border communities with Lagos by promptly arresting over 150 suspects.
He assured residents that no stone would be left unturned in his avowed determination to rid Ogun of crimes and criminals.
“The law enforcement agents have been directed to deal ruthlessly with anyone taking advantage of the pandemic to engage in any form of criminal activity,” the governor reiterated.