COVID-19: We’ll declare Total Lockdown if…. Akeredolu

Full Text of Governor Akeredolu’s Declaration of Curfew


My dear people,I address you today, exactly ten days after I announced the existence of the first case of Coronavirus (COVID-18) infection in Ondo State. It is deplorable that I am also here to intimate you with the unfortunate existence of the third case tested positive of COVID -19 infection in our State.

This is most unfortunate and quite disturbing.The new case is a Medical Practitioner resident with the Nigerian Army Clinic at the Owena Cantonment here in Akure. He came in contact with the index case who is an Army officer, while administering healthcare to him as a suspected case in the Clinic at the Army base.As you are aware, the index case came back from a national assignment in India. His first point of examination and treatment was the Army Barracks from where the rest of the protocols were observed until he was confirmed and isolated.

LAs a government, we took the conscious effort to monitor all the health workers in the Army clinic in order to track any possibility of primary or secondary infection. We also expanded this to all the possible and known contacts of the index case in the Barracks. This serious effort helped us to identify the current case who developed symptoms after the index case was confirmed. We took his samples for testing.

The sample was confirmed positive. He has since been transferred to the Infectious Diseases Hospital for proper care.However, for avoidance of doubt the current case is not currently a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as earlier announced. He is an employee of the Nigerian Army Barracks who served as a medical practitioner in the same facility in the year 2017 and was retained.My dear people, I am addressing you today because of the frightening dimension our vulnerability as a people is assuming.

It is clear from this particular case that unlike the previous two which were conveyed from outside the state, the current case is within our state with a tendency towards community transmission. In simple terms, we are now faced with the stark reality that Covid -19 may be transferred among families, workplaces, markets, places of worship, social gatherings and others within Ondo State, anytime without restriction and notice.

While Government will continue to be alert to its responsibility of securing the lives of the people and providing for their welfare, it is unhelpful if simple and well-meaning guidelines provided for public good are ignored or treated with levity by citizens.It is particularly disheartening that in spite of the massive media publicity, policy and community advocacy as well as other response protocols put in place as precautionary guidelines against this pandemic, reports reaching me have indicated serious gaps in compliance by our people.

While Government preaches handwashing, social and physical distancing, discontinuance of social gathering and avoidance of unnecessary movement outside the home, it is disturbing that our designated markets, some religious organisations and several other public places still thrive in total disregard of such directives. I have also been briefed of the pressures on our borders, occasioning infiltration by people and Vehicles from neighbouring states.

The implications of this can be better imagined.The point must be made again that the fight against Covid – 19 is a responsibility that will demand utmost seriousness, vigilance and attention. There is the need for effective measure of containment, investigation, enforcement and control, and government will not shy away from its duty to ensure same.

To this end I have directed further sterner measures to enforce compliance to these regulations.

These are: Imposition of curfew from 7pm to 7am everyday with effect from today 14th April, 2020 until further notice• Arrest and detention of individuals found to have breached government’s directives on restriction of movement of persons and goods, operation of business premises and community markets, religious gatherings and public bars and other social activities within the state.

The only exceptions are where food and medical items are sold with total compliance with social and physical distancing.• Arrest and detention of individuals and goods being transported into Ondo State through our borders in breach of extant directive on total closure of the borders.

The only exceptions allowed are for purposes of obtaining food, seeking emergency lifesaving or chronic medical attention or obtaining security pass for such journeys in accordance with our Regulations.

My people, we have taken these very necessary decisions knowing full well it will disrupt the livelihoods and daily activities of all of us and our communities in general, however, such sacrifices are needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our state in order to preserve lives and protect our families and our loved ones.

There is no gainsaying that the 3rd case of Covid – 19 in our state is an unfortunate experience. We must do all it takes to make it the last. This therefore calls for a total and dedicated effort by all of us to commit ourselves to the recommended hygienic conditions and to assist government in enforcing the time-tested global guidelines against avoidable exposure to Covid – 19 infection.

We must avoid shaking hands, sitting close to one another, hugging as well as other forms of physical contact that make it possible for the Virus to be transmitted. We must continue to wash our hands regularly and thoroughly using water and soap and sanitizer where available.

These points need to be emphasised because a further occurrence of another case tested positive will inevitably lead to total lockdown of the state.

This undoubtedly will bring further strain upon our already stressed livelihood.Government is fully conscious of the pains and frustrations being currently experienced, as a result of the existing restrictions and limitations, especially by those whose daily survival depends on daily wage such as menial workers, artisans and traders. It was to further alleviate their difficulties and pains that we have commenced our food palliative measures which are properly domiciled in the local Governments and grassroots communities.I therefore wish to emphasise that the distribution palliative has no political colouration or consideration whatsoever.

They are additional economic support measures to support the poor and the vulnerable. They are for citizens of Ondo state and must be so administered by the community-based individuals in charge. Efforts like this, with those of the federal Government, must be made to support positively the survival, sustenance and total benefit of our people.

Let me seize this opportunity to express Government’s sincere appreciation to our traditional rulers, community leaders, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) as well as other public spirited individuals, the business community, volunteers and donors for their selfless efforts, sense of leadership and sacrifice during these challenging times.

I must again thank the Interministerial committee, palliative committee, fund mobilisation committee, our health workers in all our health facilities, particularly the officers manning our Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) and the state entry points, for their rare dedication, vigilance, sacrifice and commitment.I thank the members of the media and other public figures for making themselves available for the great work of mobilising our people towards containment of this scourge through hygienic practices, social distancing and issues associated with social gatherings.

I am convinced that with our cooperation with the Federal Government and all global efforts generated everyday by Governments and relevant organisations, the attack of Covid -19 on our humanity and civilization will soon be defeated.I thank you all for listening and may God bless Ondo State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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