Deepening Safety Awareness for the Grassroots

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Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency and Lagos State Safety Commission recently extended its social distancing campaign and basic hygiene practices to the grassroots

With COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world and no readily-acceptable cure at hand, nations have adopted social distancing and good hygienic practice, among others, as some of the measures to ameliorate the spread of the virus. In Nigeria, it’s is not different both at the federal and state level. However, one of the major enforcers of these measures is Lagos and this message have been reiterated in recent times especially in the wake of the looming partial re-opening of the state.

Thus, as a way of deepening the message of physical distancing and basic hygiene practices that could help keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC), last week extended their ongoing sensitisation campaign to some cluster groups in the suburbs of Ikorodu.

Apart from raising the level of awareness on the deadly pandemic as well as prevention methods among the participants at the event, the two agencies also donated relief materials to some residents.

The sensitisation exercise, held at Farm Settlement in Odongunyan area of Ikorodu, had each of the groups in different classrooms of not more than 10 persons seated at physical distancing proximity.

Explaining the rationale behind the relief packages, the General Manager of LASEPA, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe said that from bringing the messages of distancing and regular hygiene to the participants, the two agencies, LASEPA and Safety Commission, decided to complement the ongoing efforts of the Lagos State government by providing relief packages to the indigent residents.

She said “In LASEPA, what people know us for is enforcement and sanctioning of recalcitrant persons or individuals but, unknown to many is the fact that before we issue sanctions to defaulters, we would have explored and exhausted all forms of dialogue and mutual reasoning”.

“And as such, this gesture today speaks volumes to our level of civility because we identified the need to carry people along, sensitise them and also make available to them, relief materials that would make it easy for them to continue to stay at home if there is no compelling need to go out.”

Fasawe acknowledged that all members of the various associations could not take part in the sensitisation exercise due to the restriction on large gatherings, pleading with representatives of the various groups present at the event to cascade the message to other members of their groups.

She specifically urged members of the transport unions to comply with the modalities guiding their operations at this period, saying that compliance with the directive would greatly assist in lowering the spread of the virus among the commuting populace in the state.

In her words; “Ensure the capacities of your buses are not beyond 60 percent passenger-capacity, disinfect your buses regularly and always make available hand sanitisers for the use of your customers”.

Dr. Fasawe, after her interaction with the various groups during the exercise, expressed satisfaction with the level of information already prevalent among the participants, attesting that it was easier conveying the messages of physical distancing and hygiene to the participants.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Director-General of LSSC, Mr. Lanre Mojola said the holistic idea to bring the campaign to the grassroots was borne out of the genuine love for all residents to keep safe at this crucial time, especially Lagosians living in the hinterlands where the level of awareness is presumably low.

Mojola, therefore, urged the various participating groups at the event to embrace the ‘Mask-Up’ campaign being championed by the state government, stressing that if Lagosians adhere to distancing and basic hygiene of regular hand washing with the use of sanitisers, in addition to the use of face masks, the fight against the deadly pandemic would be won in no distant time.

While decrying the continuous disregard for physical distancing directive and closure of religious centres for worship, the DG assured that the government is not relaxing its enforcement drive and would continue to clamp down heavily on erring groups or persons.

On the partial lifting of lockdown order in the state from next week, Mojola maintained that the new development does not imply that residents should disregard the various messages being preached by the state government.