Covid-19: Niger Delta Governors Find Good Excuse To Curb Extravagant Ceremonies, Restrict Gatherings

The Oasis Reporters

March 29, 2020

Gov. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

The oil rich Niger Delta states of Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa and Exo are widely noted for their lavish parties especially at weekends. There’s hardly a party in the region that doesn’t gulp between a hundred thousand to sometimes, 20 million naira or more each weekend. Be it a wedding, house warming or interment. Governors have been uncomfortable with the closure of roads and the financial waste as they bore it silently.

The ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has played into their hands to curb the wasteful expenditure patterns, even though they equally engage in such revelry themselves. From the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike to the Exo State governor and Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, stringent restrictions are now in place to curb social gatherings.

For instance, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has announced the closure of night clubs/lounges and cinemas and has restricted public burials, social events to 20 persons and no more.

Here is his speech rolling it all out:


My Dear Deltans,

For the second time in one week, I am addressing you on the coronavirus pandemic.
2. As at 2 pm today, 24th March, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed 42 cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. While there is no case of COVID – 19 confirmed in Delta State we must take some precautionary measures to prevent, as well as limit infection if it occurs.

3. The Multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by NCDC has activated its national Emergency Operation Centre, and they are working closely with State Health authorities.
4. I wish to urge all Deltans to adhere strictly to the following precautionary measures:

Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 – 60 seconds and use alcohol-based Sanitisers.

Social Distancing: maintain at least two metres (six feet) between yourself and anyone, especially those coughing or sneezing.

Persons who are coughing or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance. They should not mix in a crowd.

Ensure good respiratory hygiene by coughing into your sleeve at the bent elbow or using tissue to cover your mouth and nose. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.
Deltans are advised to avoid all non-essential travel within or outside the State.
It is important we realise that the virus does not spread itself; it is spread by people.

If you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and have difficulty in breathing, call the following
numbers for guidance:- 0803 123 0480, 0803 123 0481
(viii) Do not engage in self-medication.

5. My dear Deltans, in the spirit of love for one another, any one of us who has recently returned from high risk countries such as China, USA, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, Iran, South Korea, Japan, must self-isolate from friends, family and others for minimum of 14 days. All who have had close contact with those who visited these high incidence countries are also advised to self-isolate for the same period.

6 On our part, we have taken certain steps to mitigate the impact if and when cases are detected in our State;
A multi-sectoral Committee has been put in place and the State Emergency Operation Centre activated. Health Staff have been selected and trained adequately.

(ii) The State Government has completed a purpose-built Isolation Centre at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba. The centre is ready for use.
(iii) Three other Centres at the now completed Central Hospital, Asaba; Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara and Central Hospital, Warri are being prepared as additional Centres.

(iv) To protect healthcare personnel and increase capacity, Personal Protective Equipment for health Staff are in stock and we have continued to scout for more.
(v) The State Government has also packaged incentives for critical health staff who will be engaged in COVID-19 treatment and management.
In the last 48 hours, we have paid for and taken delivery of 19 No. Ventilators and a good number of Monitors for use by our medical Staff.

(vi) Other critical needs, including Dialysis machines, dedicated for COVID -19 case management will be installed.

7. I urge Deltans not to panic, but we must all commit to best behaviours by keeping to the advice of the NCDC and State officials.

8. Please do not spread false information on social media, as it will do us no good.

All institutions of learning: Primary, Secondary or Tertiary are to close for a period of 30 days at the end of School hours on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020.

All workers on grade levels 1 -12 (except those on essential duties (Health Staff, Fire Services, Water Corporation/agencies) are to stay at home effective 26th March, 2020.

Biometric operations at all levels of Government are hereby suspended till further notice

Malls, supermarkets, restaurants, banks, hotels and bars must, in addition to providing Sanitizers at various entry points, ensure social distancing by allowing only few persons at a time.

Market leaders to ensure that Sanitizers are provided at all entry points to the markets. Failure to do this will attract sanction from the Government.

All night clubs/lounges and cinemas are to be closed forthwith.

All burials and social events must be low-key, not attracting crowds of more than twenty (20) persons or be put off indefinitely. Security Agencies will be directed to enforce this henceforth. Social distancing must be complied with.

The State Government is to immediately convene a meeting with religious bodies and their leaders to enable us take far-reaching decisions on worship. However, all crusades and conferences must be suspended for now.

All Local Government Council Chairmen are hereby directed to urgently meet with traditional rulers and opinion leaders (men/women) in their domain to partner with the State in carrying out this advocacy to curtail the spread of the infection.
All buses and taxis must provide hand Sanitizers for travellers.

All town union gatherings or youth conferences/gatherings are prohibited until further notice.

All political gatherings and conferences, summits and gatherings involving more than 20 persons are banned until further notice.

9. Together and with God on our side, we shall overcome this plague.

Office of the Governor
Government House
March 2020

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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