While Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI) commends and appreciates the ongoing efforts of Kogi State Government towards the combating of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic in Kogi State, especially the setting up of the COVID-19 Squadron Committee, the Thursday, April 9, 2020 directives of the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, lifting the ban on religious gathering is a call to endangers Kogi Citizens.
It should be recalled that Challenged Parenthood Initiative, on March 31, 2020 issued a statement calling on Kogi State Government to employ proactive approach in containing the Novel Corona Virus in the State. CPI observed in that statement that the fact that Kogi State is bordered by 10 other states and is the main gateway to the north of Nigeria for people from the South, West and East makes Kogi Citizens prone and vulnerable to the dreaded COVID-19.
CPI also drew the attention of the State Government to vehicular movements into and within Kogi State despite the Stay at Home directives of the State Government, and tasks the COVID-19 Squadron Committee on strict enforcement of preventive measures.
As we anticipate a more strict enforcement of preventive measures by COVID-19 Squadron Committee set up by the Governor, we are surprised that the state government has lifted the ban on religious gathering without taking into cognizance the danger of this call on Kogi Citizens. CPI is aware of the fact that Kogi State is among a few States in Nigeria yet to record a case of COVID-19, but this fact should not be taking as total freedom. So long there are movements and coming together of people of any sort, tendencies of contracting the virus would remain high.
It should be noted that CPI had observed that some Kogi Citizens do not believe the reality of COVID-19, and with the lift of ban on religious gathering today, the government has further strengthened their views not to believe COVID-19 is a serious global crisis.
In times of global public health emergency, proactive measures to ensure safety of lives is needed by every government and Kogi State Government should not be left behind. We expected public awareness and sensitization of the people to be at its pick at the moment while ensuring other safety and preventive measures in place.
While we monitor with keen interest the inadequate preparedness capacity to meet the health needs of a COVID -19 patient in an event Kogi State records a case, today’s lift of ban on religious gathering is an unwelcome development which comes with mix feelings and questioning from Kogites of the rational behind the directives in the face of the current global and national public health emergency.
We therefore call on His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello, to reconsider his directives and position for the sake of a healthy and COVID-19-Free Kogi State while we monitor developments from other states. We also call on Kogites to remain sensitive to the reality of this global and national health emergency by observing all precautionary measures as we push through this demanding period.
Together We Can!
Long Live Kogi State.
Eunice Abimbola Agbogun
Executive Director, CPI