Niger Concerned about Rise in Covid-19 Cases

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By Laleye Dipo

The Niger State Government has said it is worried by the rise in positive cases of coronavirus across the state since the ease of the lockdown about five weeks ago.

As a result, the government said it may restore the guidelines put in place during the peak of the pandemic if people continued to disregard the policies.

The Chairman of the state Covid-19 Taskforce and Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, made government’s feelings known in a statement in Minna on Tuesday.

He said despite public enlightenment and advocacy embarked upon by the taskforce, it is disappointing to see people flouting the guidelines such as wearing of masks, physical distancing, regular hand washing with soap under running water and application of hand sanitizers, among others

He also said that low compliance with the Ministry of Transport guidelines had been observed by operators of private and commercial vehicles, as well as commercial motorcycle operators, which were still plying roads despite the suspension of their activities

Matane therefore said: “Government views with grave concern the rise in the rate of infection of the virus in the state following the easing of the Covid-19 preventive, containment and emergency order; therefore, the government of His Excellency Dr Abubakar Sani Bello will not hesitate to restore some guidelines earlier lifted by the government due to non-compliance with the safety protocols of coronavirus.”

He said in order to bring the situation under control, the state government has directed security agencies to confiscate any motorcycle, private or commercial, who flouts the guidelines.

Matane also called on the people of the state to be law abiding by complying strictly with the restriction, prohibition or any requirement imposed under the Covid-19 order.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Niger State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Malam Abdul Idris, has charged the state government to adequately engage the media and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) if Covid-19 campaign will succeed.

Idris made the suggestion when he received the state Director of NOA, Alhaji Yahaya Gbongbo, in his office in Minna.

He observed that the media and NOA have the mechanism and technical knowhow to adequately sensitize, mobilize and inform the citizens as well as set agenda on what and how to convince the masses especially the rural dwellers on the misconceptions.

He appreciated the agency for the partnership while assuring it of continuous support in ensuring its success.