The governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, has warned that another lockdown might be the last resort if Nigerians continue to disregard the non-pharmaceutical guidelines to prevent the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lalong, who spoke to State House correspondents after a private meeting with the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said that there must be a way of enforcing the protocols to contain the spread of the virus.
“Although it is difficult to talk about locking down states now, the way people are going, at the end of the day, may be, people may be talking about that when you start losing five people within two weeks.
“There must be an approach towards enforcement; so this is what we are doing as governors and we are taking it seriously.
“In my state, we lost almost five people there—VIPs; they were VIPs; not to talk about the ordinary person that is there. So, in terms of approach, we need to be very vigilant; we have said it several times.”
Lalong, who contracted the COVID-19 virus in December last year, restated the fact the second wave of the virus is more dangerous.
“I just recovered from COVID-19 and those who say that it doesn’t exist should know this; though I don’t wish my enemies to go throw what I went through for 10 days.
“And all the symptoms were there; everything that I went through; I thank God that I was able to come out of it and I am now very healthy.
“Also as a member of the PTF representing the governors; we have drummed it that this second wave is more dangerous than what we saw before.”
Governor Lalong said that he would hold a wide stakeholders’ meeting next week to emphasize the issue of enforcement of the protocols.
“Everywhere I go, I tell them if you don’t follow enforcement, then you may go back to the last option of general lockdown but let us approach it because it is really very deadly now.
“Somebody gets it; one, two, three days, he is gone. But before, somebody gets it, you rush him to hospital; you go through processes and you come out of it.
“But how many people will come out; how many people are privileged to even come out it like we do and that is the concern we have.”
Governor Lalong called for increased risk communication to change the attitude of people and make them understand the effects of the virus.
He said the reason why many Nigerians do not observe the protocols was the wrong attitude they have about guidelines put up by government in the country.
“You know, generally, a Nigerian may refuse to follow protocols; the same protocols that when he goes to UK or Dubai, the first thing he does is to go by the protocol. So, I really don’t know why.
“The risk communication will have to be also enhanced. Otherwise, people see it as my own law and I don’t have to obey my own law.
“The first thing he does when he goes outside, immediately when he drops at the airport is to ask what the rules are.
“But here you will draw up the rules; you say people should not be parked inside taxis without masks.
“You find taxi drivers buying packets of the masks and when you enter taxi, they give you and you wear it. When you pass a checkpoint they take it back from you.
“That is more dangerous; he will give it to the next person and that person will wear it.
“For me, it is the level of communication and understanding within our people. So, that is what we are doing now, getting it back to the grassroots so that people will understand the effects of this virus. “
The Plateau governor expressed worry about the level of insecurity in northern Nigeria and other parts of the country, but stated that a lot was being done to fight those causing the problem.
“In the north, we have emphasized this: that yes, we have serious insecurity in the north, because if I say we don’t have insecurity in the north, I will be lying.
“The north east is still there; we are battling with insurgency in the northeast; we are battling with banditry in the north central and also banditry in the northwest.
“The chairman of the North Central Governors Forum was here two days ago to see the president; to raise alarm about the level of insecurity in Niger State, although the federal government has done its best.
“Recently, we trained constabularies for community policing and we have distributed them. So, we are just waiting and using them to see the effect of our intelligence gathering.”
He said there was need to focus and put more interest in securing all parts of Nigeria where there was issue of insecurity.
Source: Voice of Nigeria