IN a bid to ensure total enforcement of the “Sit-At-Home” order which came into effect across the state on Saturday, March 28, as part of fresh measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country, stakeholders in Yagba West Local Government of Kogi State on Saturday unanimously agreed to total compliance, but that in doing so, the enforcement of strict adherence to government directives must wear a human face.
At the inauguration of the 14-man “Yagba West Task Force On COVID-19” and the council’s chapter of the state’s COVID-19 Squadron Team, witnessed by traditional rulers, heads of law enforcement agencies and health care institutions and representatives of religious organizations and community leaders, held at the Yagba West local government secretariat, Odo-Ere, the coalition tasked members of the task force to limit their roles to monitoring and reporting incidences of non-compliance with the restriction and social distancing directives and “not to turn themselves into law enforcers”.
Aside ensuring compliance to safety directives, Special Assistant to the Governor on Security in charge of the local government, Tade Oshaloto who inaugurated the task force members on behalf of Governor Yahaya Bello, said the job description of the committee includes sensitization of the public to the challenges of COVID-19.
In the event of any noticed failure of compliance or people suspected to show symptoms of coronavirus but failed to report themselves to healthcare authorities, the taskforce members are directed to ONLY report such cases to the DPO.
Oshaloto noted that before now, COVID-19 was thought to be distant, but recent events proved to the contrary, hence, the task force, a concept of Governor Bello’s, became inevitable in the face of the surge in number of cases of coronavirus recorded in the country which rose to 81 at the weekend.
According to the Local Government Chief, Kogi State still remained free of any COVID-19 cases, unfortunately, the first casualty in Nigeria is an indigene of Kogi State, although he did not reside in the state, “hence the resolve to do all we can to ensure no presence of coronavirus in Kogi State and the sure way to achieve that is abiding by safety directives”.
He cautioned that if nations that boast of effective health care facilities have recorded over 5000 casualties, “God forbids such outbreak in Nigeria because we don’t come near the health facilities available in those countries”.
He commended the Yagba West Traditional Council and heads of security agencies as well as the people of the council for the level of compliance so far and urged for more colaboration between the stakeholders and members of the task force towards ensuring total compliance to the sit-at-home order.
Elegbe of Egbe and Chairman, Yagba West Traditional Council, Oba Ayodele Irukera corroborated the SSA on the global threats constituted by coronavirus. He said very few nations have not been touched as a result of the spread, Nigeria being one of the latest entrant. He expressed gratitude to God that the dreaded virus has not touched down in Yagba West and prayed it does not “but possible only by obeying government rules, regulations and guidelines”.
The monarch noted that the tasks of total public compliance and enforcement of same are not an easy one but not impossible, “because you are not even expected to go out of your homes”.
Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Odo-Ere, headquarters of the local government, Mr Akinyemi commended the SSA for spearheading the efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Yagba West. He promised that security operatives in the council would carry out their duty with diligence, but politely, ensuring all parties keyed in to the rules of engagement. “People will defy directives but we still have to be careful because the people are not the cause of the problem”, he warned.
Below is the list of ward members of the Yagba West COVID-19 Task Force:
Tope Aina- Ere
Timi Jimoh-Okoloke/Isanlu Esa/Okunran
Dare Rowland-Oke-Egbe 1
Agbonwo Femi-Oke Egbe 2
Hammed Saka-Oke-Egbe 3
Awoyimika Ogungbemi- Oke-Egbe 4
James Job- Odo-Egbe 1
Ikubolaje John Eyitayo- Odo-Egbe 2
Arifayo Dayo- Odo-Egbe 3
The Central Task Force include: Director of Local Government (DLG);
DPOs (Ere/Egbe); Heads, Military Joint Task Force, NCDC, Vigilantes, health care institutions; Representatives of the Traditional Council, Christian and Muslims community, etc.