The Oyo State Containment and Decontamination Project on Tuesday expressed its readiness to contain the COVID-19 pandemic by embarking on immediate decontamination of all areas suspected to have come under the attack of Coronavirus.
This was as the committee, led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor on Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Professor Olanike Adeyemo, called on religious organisations, owners of businesses and corporate organizations in the state to take responsibility by immediately embarking on fumigation of their premises to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Seyi Makinde, Moses Alao, indicated that Professor Adeyemo, led a few members of the committee including the Personal Assistant to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Akeem Azeez and Mr. Tolu Afolayan, to the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State Television and Fresh FM 105.9 Ibadan, where she noted that the committee would embark on fumigation of locations based on indication of the virus.
According to her, the committee is a strategic partnership that brought together the Oyo State government, University of Ibadan and experts from other organisations, noting that the committee would begin the fumigation exercise with the Oyo State Government Secretariat and the home of other persons who tested positive to the virus.
She stressed that based on facts from experts, her committee was in alignment with the views of Governor Makinde on the need for a logical and evidence-based approach to fighting COVID-19.
Adeyemo, who encouraged religious leaders and owners of businesses in the state to take responsibility by going ahead with the fumigation of their premises in what she described as a prophylactic step, informed members of the public that his committee has developed a protocol, which can be followed by anyone interested in embarking on fumigation.
According to her, the committee has experts in environmental health as well as volunteers who are ready to offer direction and guidance on the process, adding that residents of the state, especially religious bodies and businesses such as banks and other corporate bodies would have to play a strong part in the state’s project to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The don explained that as part of the committee’s efforts on the containment of the disease, it has deployed Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to map and plot the state such that it would be easy to identify social clusters and provide adequate information on containing the disease.
Adeyemo said: “Our people need to trust the governor and his approach to fighting the COVID-19. Some people would say that they are doing some things in China or any other countries and so Oyo State should be doing the same things, but the governor has insisted that he is a logical person and that we must follow a logical approach to fighting the virus. If that is not done, it will just become mere politicking and showmanship.
“The fight against COVID-19 should be about what exactly do we need to do to protect residents of the state and this is what the governor is trying to do. The governor is seeking information from experts and the right people. If you look at China, their style of living is different from ours; the structures of their buildings and the organisation of their streets are different. We need to look at our surrounding and ask if the approaches put in place in those countries can work here. So, we have to seek information to seek information from experts and that is what this committee on containment and decontamination is advocating.
“We have to show our people that we are doing the best thing to protect them. We don’t have to begin to fumigate everywhere because we just want to be popular; it is not a popularity contest; it is about protecting the people.
“As the governor has always said, COVID-19 is an uncharted territory. So, the idea of decontamination is to contain the disease. But we have assessed the risk in Oyo State, we cannot do what they are doing in Lagos or Abuja just because they are doing it. The governor is doing things that will protect people and he is taking day by day and minute by minute decisions.
“What someone would have done was to just award this project to one contractor and that contractor would go ahead and spray water or any kind of chemical, which would have no effect. But this project is a partnership between the Oyo State government and the University of Ibadan. It has a blend of members of the academics, government officials and other experts. And it is driven largely by volunteers. At the University of Ibadan, we are teaching our students to be responsible and a number of them have volunteered to assist in the fumigation. We also have experts in Environmental Health, who will help with the prescription of the right chemical and the measures. But this is a partnership that is not about money. We have a layer of experts.
“Another thing we are doing is to appeal to members of the public; if you are a religious leader leading a church or mosque or you have a business premises either in corporate or personal capacity, this is the time to take responsibility. You can go ahead to fumigate your premises as a prophylactic measure.
“We are fumigating the secretariat because the governor tested positive and he works there. But we are now saying that if you are an owner of business, you can fumigate your premises. If you have church or mosque you can do a prophylaxis. What we have done is to develop a protocol that can be used by churches, mosques and other centres with social cluster.
“We are encouraging people to be responsible, if you have a church, mosque, a hotel, we don’t have to wait for Oyo government to fumigate for you. You should do that.We need to trust govt more and to play our parts.”
She added that as part of the social responsibility of residents at this period, they should report individuals with COVID-19-related symptoms, especially those how may have travel history outside the country or even Lagos and Abuja.