As we approach the timeline for the total lockdown of Ogun State, as part of the measures to contain and curtail the spread of corona virus in the state, I thought it is necessary to unveil some measures aimed at achieving the objectives of the lockdown and minimise the impact on our people.
2. You may recall that Ogun State government had announced the closure of our borders with other states and the international border with Benin Republic on Saturday, 28 March, 2020, which was to be effective the following day. Incidentally, the President delivered a nationwide broadcast on Sunday, 29th March, 2020 in which he announced a lockdown in three locations: Lagos and Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The lockdown was to be effective the following day, Monday, 30th March, 2020 from 11pm. Once again, on behalf of the government and good people of ogun State, I thank Mr. President for the leadership he has continued to provide for the country, the effort to combat the corona virus and the well-thought-out measures announced in the broadcast. In particular, the recognition of the peculiar position of our state with regards to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Ogun State government made a request to the Presidency for a shift in the commencement of the lockdown to today, Friday, to enable residents of the state prepare for the period of the lockdown and to allow the state government finalise the mechanisms for the distribution of the relief materials to our people, particularly the poor and the vulnerable, to cope with the challenges of the lock down. Again, we appreciate the gracious approval of the Presidency of our request.
4. Whilst the closure of our borders with has been effected from Monday, as announced by the President, I wish to remind Ogun residents and confirm that the lockdown will come into effect today, Friday, 3rd April, 2020 at 11.00pm. Once again, I enjoin all and sundry to fully comply with these measures and regard them as necessary sacrifices to safeguard ourselves from the dreaded and rampaging virus. From the first index case in our state about a month ago, the number of positive cases in the country is inching towards 200. And it is particularly worrisome that the number has doubled in less than one week. Therefore, any measure, particularly aimed at enforcing social distancing considered very potent to flatten the spread of the virus should be supported by all.
5. Let me now provide specific details of the measures to cushion the effect on the lockdown on our people.
6. The government is providing immediately various food items, neatly packed, to 100,000 households across our state in the first instance. The target is to reach 500,000 households in all. The objective is that whilst this number may not capture all the residents of the state, it will reach significant number of the intended beneficiaries, the poor and the vulnerable.
7. Each food park contains the following items, considered to be staple amongst the majority of our citizens:
i. 5kg of rice
ii. 5kg of beans
iii. 5kg of gari
v. Seasoning cubes
vi. 4 Nos. Vegetable Oil Sachets
vii. 5 Nos. Tomato Puree sachets.
These are the core items procured by the government. Some other food and personal hygiene items have been donated by public spirited individuals and organisations, these will also be distributed as appropriate.
8. I want to appeal to our people that to avoid stampede and unnecessary struggles in the course of distribution of the items. It will be an on-going process that will go around the mapped beneficiaries in due course. We should also maintain social distancing at all times to avoid the distribution points being unwittingly turned to arena for potential infections.
9. We have put in place a mechanism to ensure a seamless and efficient distribution process of the relief materials. First, we have established a food barn in each of our three Senatorial Districts, from where the food items will be distributed to the respective Local Government Areas. Second, we have constituted and inaugurated Local Government Relief Material Task Force in all the twenty local governments. The composition of the task force is multi-sectoral, broadbased and inclusive to ensure critical segments of the community are in the driver seat for objectively determining, identifying and collating the list of beneficiaries (the poor and vulnerable) in each LGA. It will then ensure fair, equitable and inclusive distribution of the relief materials in an efficient and effective manner.
The committee, which is chaired by the Chairman of the Local government, has as members, Chairman of Community Development Council (CDC) in the LGA – who will serve as Vice- Chairman, Chairman of League of Imams and Alfas, and Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria and Chairman of Council of Baales. Other members are representative of Market Women, Member(s) of House of Assembly, a maximum of two Political Office holders from the LGA4and a Permanent Secretary or a Director Level Staff in the State’s Public Service from the LGA. The Head of Local Government Administration in the Local Government will serve as Secretary. The Task Force is replicated in each of our 236 Wards in the state to ensure the relief materials get to the grassroots.
10. Let me warn that any report of diversion or any other sharp practices that undermine the objectives of the relief materials will be viewed seriously. Indeed, there will be consequences. Corona virus has traumatised us collectively enough, and the government will not tolerate anyone further taking advantage of our people, particularly in these trying times. To this end, the various Task Forces are expected to submit periodic reports that will provide at least basic information that could be used to audit the exercise in each ward and local government and randomly confirm and contact beneficiaries.
11. Other measures that are in place to mitigate the effects of the lockdown are:
a) The lockdown will be total from now till 7.00am on Tuesday. The lockdown will be suspended between 7.00am and 2.00pm to allow for essential business activities.
This 7.00am to 2.00pm window will be observed every other day therefrom i. e Tuesday instant, Thursday, and Saturday for the coming week.
b)Telemedicine to provide access to healthcare and health information during the lockdown.
c) Decontamination of the State. Public spaces such as markets, parks, and others will be fumigated across the state for the next few days, while the lockdown lasts.
d) Personnel on essential services, such as health, security, fire petroleum products dealers and food producers and distributors, will continue to have limited movement required to perform their sensitive duties.
12. The cumulative number of confirmed cases so far in Ogun State is four, out of which two have been discharged. Nonetheless, our team continues on active surveillance and screening. Indeed, we have carried out 83 tests (including the 4 confirmed cases earlier mentioned). 64 tested negative whilst we are awaiting 11 results. In addition, we have traced 111 contacts of which 39 have been discharged. Another 71 will complete their 14-day monitoring period tomorrow.
13. Even as we hope for the best, we have continued to prepare for the worst, by ramping up our level of preparedness. Few days ago, I unveiled our isolation and treatment facilities that have combined about 300 bed spaces. Subsequently, we have acquired 12 ventilators. And we are grateful to the Redeemed Christian Church of God for the donation of 2 ventilators and ICU equipment making it a total of 14 ventilators in Ogun State. In the next few days, the first state fully funded Molecular Laboratory in Nigeria will be unveiled in Ogun State. This will reduce the test turn-around time from the current average of 3-5 days to 8 hours, minimise the anxiety of screened individuals and their families while the test is awaited, and also minimise the exposure of health professionals.
14. I will like to use this opportunity to thank all those who have donated cash, physical infrastructure, food items and other items to the COVID fund set up by the state. Posterity will be kind to you for standing to be counted at this period in history. I am particarly thrilled by the small but very significant donation from the youngest donor so far, Oluwashikemi Ogunleye. She used our USSD Code to donate 950 Naira. Oluwashikemi, I am proud to be the governor of a philanthropist like you. You are indeed the symbol of giving of ourselves to ourselves, and the future we are building together. I call on others to come forward and support the fight against COVID.
15. Before I conclude, let reiterate the need to wash our hands regularly with water and soap or use hand sanitizer, use face mask and maintain social distance. Face mask has the benefits of shielding the afflicted from infecting others and vice versa.
20. Once again, I thank our health team, media, donors, stakeholders for the commitment. But for their surveillance, the many returnees from outside the country some of whom have now tested positive in Osun State could have found their way into the larger society with the potential to infect many. Our EpidemieOlogist, working with port health officials and immigration identified them at our Idiroko border and escorted them to their destination. I thank you all again and pray that the afflicted will recover sooner than later while the spread is contained. Together, we will defeat COVID-19.
16. I thank you all for listening, and God bless.
“Igbega Ipinle Ogun, Ajose Gbogbo wa ni”
Prince Dapo Abiodun MFR
Governor of Ogun State.
Friday, 3rd April, 2020