Paul Orude, Bauchi
Following the listing of Bauchi among high-risk states for the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor Bala Mohammed has said that he would welcome a federal lockdown if it becomes necessary.
The governor advised state residents to strictly observe the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols on social distancing, wearing of face masks and washing of hands and the use hand sanitizers to curtail the spread of the virus.
‘I am worried because you can see the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has listed Bauchi local government as one of those metropolises that are prone to COVID-19 and we should be careful,’ he said.
Governor Mohammed gave the advice shortly after inspecting the Molecular Laboratory established by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) under the Federal Ministry of Education at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital.
‘We have relaxed on these issues especially at the centre in Bauchi. This thing is real.
‘I am advising the people of Bauchi State, especially at the centre, that this thing (COVID-19) is not over. We don’t want to carry the sledgehammer and kill the fly, we don’t want to come and apply the rule hook line and sinker and could be unpleasant but certainly when it must be done. You can see even the Federal Government is mooting the idea of locking down Bauchi town; I don’t want that because it causes a lot of problems and challenges. I will advise that we exact our own corporate and individual responsibilities,’ he said.
‘The Federal Government is right because they have facts at their disposal that we are not exercising the social distancing, [that] we are not excessing the protocol. This COVID-19 is packed in Bauchi State and you know some of the perceptions may be misplaced because most of those who brought the disease are coming from outside the state, as explained by our health commissioner and the Executive Chairman of the State PHCDA…’
The governor reiterated his administration’s policy that whoever comes to the state on transfer will be tested for COVID-19 in view of the PTF’s warning.
‘I will plead with the Presidential Taskforce to look at it comprehensively but where it feels it can apply it, good. I am a federalist; I believe in the Federal Government and I believe in our responsibility to subsist as a federating state, and so therefore there is no conflict. If that will be applied, we are ready to cushion the effect, provide the palliatives and solace to the people so that lockdown will be effected,’ he said.