By Ushang Ewa
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the position of the member representing Ikom/Boki federal constituency in the 2019 general elections, Sir Victor Abang has said the ignorance will be the biggest challenge in breaking the transmission chain of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abang, in a release signed by him on Monday evening titled; “Our People First” stressed the need for massive awareness campaigns.
He said the campaign must cut across all forms and styles of communication in order to be effective or the State may be caught in the web of the plague.
He commended the efforts of the Lagos state government and urged the Cross River State government to adopt global best practices to prevent the pandemic from spreading into the state.
“Today, the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic is existential. While scientists all over the world are relentless in an attempt to develop a cure, National governments and sub national governments of states are developing policies geared towards containing its spread.
“In Nigeria such efforts are being replicated in most states with Lagos at its vanguard. Despite the threat posed by Covid-19 and global action towards its containment, in Cross River State it appears there is little efforts to contain the spread.
“Globally, as at the last count, 13,598 persons have died due to complications arising from coronavirus infections. 206,575 are “currently infected.
“In Nigeria, there are 37 recorded cases now with medical practitioners and public health strategists conceding to the fact that there will be an increase in days to come.
“To curb its spread, the Federal Government has adopted stringent measures. This includes: banning of all international flights, closure of public schools and the enforcement of social distance order.
“States like Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Somoto, Kwara, FCT, Nassarawa and Bayelsa have followed suit with measures to Compliment the federal government efforts.
“Some of the recommended preventive measures include hand washing, covering the mouth when coughing, maintaining distance from other people, and monitoring and self-isolation for people who suspect they are infected. However, in Cross River State there is still more to be done in terms of public awareness.
“Coronavirus as the biggest public health emergency in modern times need proactive measures to stern its rippling effect on man.
“The Cross River state government should, as a matter of state security begin to pursue and sustain the best international methods of containing the dreaded pandemic.
“First and foremost, to tackle the disease, the government must take concrete steps towards creating awareness on the danger of the virus. This becomes necessary due to reaction of most Cross Riverians whom I interviewed about Covid-19. From my observation, apart from other verifiable reason, it is clear that ignorance is, and remains the biggest challenge to the coronavirus containment efforts in the state.
“So, to avoid a situation where we will be cut in the web of the plague, it is my humble suggestion that massive campaign on electronic, social and print media should be carried to educate the public especially, those in rural area on how to prevent the spread of the viral disease.
“It is my conclusion that the Government of Lagos State efforts in containing the viral disease remain the most appropriate and suitable. In Lagos, today social events/ gathering have been banned. Public Schools have been closed. The state government has gone further to ask public servants to stay at home in the next 14 days while putting restrictions on activities of religious groups. This should be copied and applied in the state. It is very instructive and imperative if we must prevent the outbreak of the pandemic in the state.
“Finally, it is my belief that and, of course, evidentiary that the virus can easily spread when there is a gathering of people. As such, government and non-government organisations are putting restrictions on the social gathering.
“In Nigeria, apart from the proactive measures the federal government and some states including FCT, the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has, as a matter of national health emergency postponed indefinitely Bayelsa, Plateau and Imo bye-elections. The Cross River Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) must follow suit and postpone the upcoming March 28, 2020, Local Government Election in the state. This becomes imperative due to the public health emergency at hand.
“At this perilous time, where no one is immune from Coronavirus, Please, without sentiments, this is the better way to go,” the statement read.
In a related development, Cross River Governor, Benedict Ayade on Tuesday, ordered the closure of all borders and directed that all institutions be shut down while only staff on essential duty are allowed to work.
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