Fred Itua, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration has raised concerns over rising cases of COVID-19 in Abuja. It said the spread is linked to two factors: Nigerians recently returned the country by the Federal Government, and people from neighbouring States who work in Abuja.
The Health and Human Services Secretariat in a report presented by the Director of Public Health, Dr Josephine Okechukwu, at a security briefing presided over by FCT Minister Muhammad Bello, said that the issue of self-denial was another challenge.
A statement released by the FCT Administration and signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, Anthony Ogunlewe, reads:
‘The Security Committee also received a brief from the Health and Human Services Secretariat presented by the Director of Public Health, Dr Josephine Okechukwu who disclosed that the major challenges facing the health authorities in the FCT are the issues of self-denial of the disease and lack of adherence to health protocols by many residents of the FCT.
‘She also said that there were imported cases into the FCT from other states as well as from returnees from outside of Nigeria. She also called for more active involvement of the Area Councils and traditional institutions in the fight against the virus in the FCT.’
Meanwhile, the FCT Administration has confirmed activities of bandits in some parts of the Territory, especially the fringes of the country’s capital.
It noted, however, that steps were being taken to tackle the issue and also address clashes between herdsmen and farmers in FCT communities.
‘Amongst other issues, the meeting also discussed matters relating to farmers/ herders clash which according to the security authorities has largely been resolved and steps being taken to tackle issues of banditry which are confined largely to the fringes along FCT borders with other states,’ the statement further read.
In the meantime, the FCT Administration has concluded plans to roll out its community policing blueprint. During a security meeting chaired by the Minister, FCT Police Commissioner Mr. Bala Ciroma said that following the directives by the Federal Government for the engagement of Special Constabularies for Community Policing nationwide, and the subsequent inauguration of the FCT State Community Advisory Committee, the committee met and came up with modalities that will guide its implementation.
The Commissioner said the main functions of the Community Constabularies will be crime detection and prevention, settlement of low level civil disputes and petty crimes, criminal intelligence gathering and dissemination to the local police commanders, dealing with minor offences and social vices, assist in traffic management and school safety duties amongst others.
According to Ciroma, the Community Constabularies are also to operate only within the communities in which they are recruited and are not permitted to operate outside of these locations, adding that the federal Police Force will train the volunteers and provide them with uniforms and means of identification.
The FCT Minister, in his remarks, called for a functional and equitable distribution of the volunteers across the FCT based on the needs of the communities. He also called for the active involvement of the Area Council Chairmen and Traditional rulers in the recruitment and deployment processes.
‘I want to acknowledge the full support we have enjoyed from your men and women in the field, either in respect of our various task forces that were established, as well as your fight against crime and criminality, and your overall support in all aspects of our work whenever we call you to service,’ he said.