My dear people of Ogun State,
A week ago, specifically on Friday last week, I addressed you on the then status of the COVID-19 situation in our dear State. I consider it imperative to provide an update, on the medical statistics, the lockdown measures and other initiatives to ensure the overall objective of safeguarding the health and well-being of our people.
2. First the medical update. In my last week briefing, the number of confirmed cases in Ogun State was 100. But, by yesterday, Thursday 14th May, 2020, we have recorded 34 more positive cases of COVID- 19, bringing the total to 134. This shows an increase of more than 30%, in just one week.
3. In the same period, we also discharged 20 additional patients who have been successfully treated at our isolation centers, in addition to the 39 earlier discharged thus bringing the total to 59, who have been given a clean bill of health and have since rejoined their respective families. The rate of recovery is very heartwarming and encouraging and we pray that this pattern continues. Unfortunately, we have recorded 5 deaths in total. We pray God to repose their souls. This leaves us with 70 active cases who are currently receiving care at our treatment centers. As usual, we hope and pray that they will also be discharged in due course.
4. The spike in the number of positive cases, particularly in the last one week, is attributable to two main factors. First is the expanded testing capacity, currently at 450 per day, that has enabled us to embark on aggressive testing, especially in the communities with possible high prevalence of infection such as our border communities. The testing has presented us with the stark reality that community transmission is on the increase in our rural and urban communities in Ogun State. We will keep expanding our testing capacity by deploying more personnel and testing centers to every nook and cranny of the State. This leads me to the second factor for the increase in the number of positive cases. In spite of several warnings and the concerted efforts of our security agencies, a number of our people have continued to flout the measures in place to flatten the curve of the spread. Some residents still come out in the public without the use of facemasks or use the facemasks in a manner that do not shield their mouths and noses; motorcycles and tricycles riders still carry more than the approved number of passengers of one and two respectively; and drivers of taxi cab and passenger buses are also culpable in this flagrant violations of the extant guidelines. Our markets have also not fully compiled with physical distancing and other measures to ensure the markets do not become the COVID-19 transmission centers.
5. Between 4th May and yesterday, 108 violators of the lockdown and other measures have been apprehended and prosecuted. They were promptly tried by the newly introduced mobile courts, with some of them made to pay fine whilst some are undergoing community service. In the same vein, 517 vehicles, 109 motorcycles and 6 tricycles were impounded for breaching the Presidential directive on curfew within the same period. In addition, security agencies also intercepted migrants from other states, who defied the ban on interstate travels, and promptly turned them back at our borders with other states. We thank the security agencies and the judiciary for the patriotic duties of apprehending and bringing to justice the violators whose activities are capable of undermining our collective wellbeing.
6. We have continued to interface with the various Baales, Obas, opinion leaders and others in our border communities to report immediately any suspicious movement of people across the borders. In the same vein, we have also continued to interface with leaders of the various non-indigenous groups in Ogun State to educate their people on the prevailing laws and its consequences. This is just as we have reinforced the intelligence apparatus in the various non-indigenous settlements and markets especially at Ogere and Kara markets along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Olomore pepper market at Abeokuta; Eleweran Onion and other markets in our major towns of Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode, Sagamu, Ilaro and Ota etc.
7. You will recall that last-week we commenced the gradual easing of our modified lockdown by extending relaxation hours from 7am – 2pm to 7am – 5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This allowed for conduct of essential business activities and has been acclaimed to have positive psychological benefits. We continue to work with statistical data and feedback from the field and endeavor to strike a balance between the health of our people and these restrictions. Consequently in view of the evidence of community transmission and poor compliance with the lockdown measures, we are constrained to extend the lockdown for another week till Sunday 24th of May. The current pattern of lockdown, with relaxation windows from 7.00am to 5.00pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday continues. We will continue to monitor the level of compliance with the lockdown measures and incidence of community transmission and hopefully, there will be positive developments that will enable us further ease the lockdown at the end of this new lockdown period. We must also bear in mind that the daily curfew from 8pm to 6am and the ban on non-essential inter- State travel as directed by Mr. President still stands.
8. Interestingly, the feedback from you, the people of Ogun State, from the Public Opinion Poll hosted on the Twitter, also support the extension of the lockdown. Out of about 6,000 respondents of the online poll, 53% support the continuation of the lockdown whilst 43% want a review with 4% undecided.
9. Ideally, compliance should be seen as a moral responsibility and civic duty. Let me state that we will not tolerate any form of sabotage in our approach and efforts at flattening the curve of COVID-19 in our dear Ogun State. We will not tolerate any act of smuggling of people, either indigenes or non-indigenes in to our dear Ogun State. Anybody found contravening this restriction will be immediately prosecuted.
10. My dear people of Ogun State, let me reassure you all that your Government will continue to do what is right for the general good of all the people of our dear State. But I must also state that, at this time, survival is also a personal responsibility. We must join hands to flatten the curved of COVID-19 in our dear Ogun State. As we continue to help ourselves, we must also help one another and help our Government. 11. Let me also state that we appreciate the need to continue to mitigate the effects of the lockdown on the people of our dear Ogun State. We have continued to do this through the distribution of our palliative materials.
12. Whilst we battle the pandemic, we also continue to focus on our Agriculture sector, as food security occupies a prime position in the overall wellbeing of the citizens and the society. Last week, I flagged off the new planting season with presentation of fertilisers and other inputs to our farmers and beneficiaries of our Anchor Borrowers Programme. In furtherance of our commitment to leveraging the Agriculture for socio-economic transformation of the state, we are finalizing arrangement to select 250 youths (food vanguards) per Local Government for a new initiative aimed at further providing employments to our youth and preserving the agriculture value-chain. This is besides the fact that we have always classified agric as a critical and essential sector with full and unrestricted access during the period of lockdown for operators in both public and private sectors.
13. I must also appreciate the various individuals and organisations that have continued to partner and support us in managing the pandemic and mitigating the effect on our citizens. Particular mention must be made of the Honourable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs. Over 60, 000 school children in primary 1-3 in all the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of our dear Ogun State will benefit from the Home Grown School Feeding Programme and be provided nutrition needed for their mental development and physical growth. In the same vein, we are almost completing enumeration for the beneficiaries of the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer in all our 20 LGAs. With this effort, Ogun State is finally benefiting for the first time since inception of the initiative four years ago. By these kind gestures, you have all continued to strengthen our will and give deep assurances for the successful implementation of our “Building our Future Together” Agenda.
14. Finally, I commend all our State healthcare workers for their understanding and partnership with Government, particularly in this trying times. As a responsible Administration, we have not taken your commitment and sacrifice for granted. I also appreciate all the other frontline officers; and all the various security agencies and journalists for their continued devotion, resilience and patriotism. You have continued to put your lives on the line to protect the rest of us. We appreciate you and we pray that God will continue to protect you in the line of duty to humanity.
15. I thank you all for listening and God bless.
“Igbega Ipinle Ogun, ajose gbogbo wa ni!”
Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR Governor of Ogun State, Nigeria
Friday, 15th May, 2020