The chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Adeolu Akande, has advised the Governor of Oyo State to take more drastic measures to curtail the spread of the dreaded coronavirus in Oyo State.
In a statement released in Ibadan on Sunday, Akande expressed concern that the actions taken so far in the state are not commensurate with the risk posed by the coronavirus to the teeming population of the state.
“I wish to commend Governor Seyi Makinde on the steps taken so far in curtailing the coronavirus. I, however, advise the government to take more drastic measures in the face of the existential threat of the disease in Oyo State”, he stated.
Akande counselled the government to consider a partial lockdown of the state to curtail the probable spread of the disease. “It is worth bearing in mind that all the states contiguous to Oyo have introduced different forms of lockdown. The implication is that rebellious residents from those states will consider Oyo State a hiding place, with the attendant risk they may pose to the population of State. This has the possibility of turning the state into a dumping ground for potential agents of the virus. Even if the assessment of the government of Oyo State is that we are not at risk, the fact that all other states have locked down their territories makes worthy of consideration that the risk level in the state has been increased. Given the level of resistance being shown in neighbouring states under lockdown, it will be too risky for Oyo State to throw itself wide open to recalcitrant residents of those states, more so when statistics from those states reflect a worrisome number of infected persons.
“While it is acknowledged that many of our people are daily wage earners who need the opportunity to earn a living, the state may want to consider the lockdown of points of convergence that host tens of thousands of people in a day. The logic of imposing a curfew at night on drinking “joints” and night clubs also applies to points of convergence that receive tens of thousands of people from all parts of the state daily. The government may give a one or two-day window for affected persons to conduct their business and earn some income.
“The government may also want to declare the mandatory wearing of facemasks in the state as that has so far been determined the best protection of the transmission route of the disease.
“Finally, I wish the governor would reconsider the opening of the State Secretariat at this point. It belies the seriousness with which the world is confronting the coronavirus. Anyone conversant with the workings of bureaucracy knows that there is little officials in the top echelon can do in the absence of mid-level and junior workers. Nevertheless, even that “little” pales into insignificance considering the risk such senior officials will pose to members of their family and the public at large when they return home. Work can always resume. Lost lives cannot be replaced,” the statement concluded.