Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Godwin Tsa Abuja and Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic, has joined the ranks of those appealing to ENDSARS protesters to embrace dialogue, reminding them that the virus virulent, deadly and dangerous.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of PTF, Boss Mustapha, made the appeal Monday at the media briefing by the Task Force.
He said: “It will not be out of place for the PTF to, in consideration of the foregoing, remind all Nigerians that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. The virus remains very virulent, deadly and dangerous. It is an unseen enemy which thrives when people lower their guard. While we use this medium to join other voices of reason, to appeal to the youths to harken to the invitation to dialogue, we also emphasize that non-compliance with the non-pharmaceutical measures are very risky adventures that must be avoided. We cannot afford to lose momentum and risk a second wave that might overwhelm our health systems.
“The PTF has on account of these developments, accelerated its plans for the National Testing Week and shall continue to monitor developments in all areas of the economy that have reopened and where new mass gathering events are taking place over the next three weeks for signs of spike in numbers. We urge every one who has been exposed unduly to large gathering to get tested and/or report any signs of the symptoms of COVID-19.”
The PTF chair described the protesters as super spreaders of the virus and warned that the result of their action will be seen two weeks from now.
“Truth be told, two weeks from today, if you get all the people that congregated at Lekki Toll Plaza for COVID-19 year, you will for sure establish several infections. Any mass gatherings that does not adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions that have been put in place – wearing of mask, social distancing, keeping personal hygiene and avoiding mass gatherings become super spreader events, whether you like it or not. So, I can say with definitive voice that two weeks from today, get everyone that congregated at those places, not only at the Lekki Toll Gate area but at Unity Foundation in Abuja and several other places in different parts of this country. We will definitely be contending with infections two weeks from now.
“That is why we must be extremely careful when we congregate. When you gather in such places, you are providing carrier vehicles to convey this virus back to wherever you are going to. So, for each person that has attended but has not put on any form of protection and return to their families, it means if they caught the virus, they are potential carriers to their destination. Their families will innocently receive them and that will become a scourge for further transmission. We are at the stage of community transmission, all these mass gatherings will reinforce that transmission in our communities. And this is what we must avoid.”
Mustapha reiterated the call to Nigerians to avoid traveling to nor receiving visitors from countries with high rate of infections cases.
On the implementation of the next phase of the National Response with effect from Monday, October 19, he stressed the need for caution as civil servants on all grade levels return to work for the first time since March.
Ugwuanyi visits defunct SARS office to confirm closure
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, yesterday, visited the defunct office of SARS in Enugu to confirm the facility has been closed in compliance with the Federal Government’s directives based on the demands of protesting youths.
Governor Ugwuanyi, who was accompanied by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Miletus Eze and his Information counterpart, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, was received by the Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdurrahman, who took him round the facilities including the empty cells.
He confirmed to the governor, who he described as “the most-friendly and security-disposed governor” that the SARS unit has been closured accordingly and the 11 detained suspects evacuated from the cells.
“Today, we don’t have SARS in Enugu.”
The Attorney General, Mr. Eze said the Judicial Panel of Inquiry recently constituted by Ugwuanyi to investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra judicial killings will be inaugurated on today.
Governor Ugwuanyi also visited the ailing first republic minister and prominent Igbo chieftain, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, who is in a hospital in Enugu and wished him quick recovery.
Imo alleges plot by opposition to hijack protests
The Imo state government has raised the alarm that some disgruntled politicians want to hijack the current endSARS protests to unleash mayhem in the state.
The government disclosed that a high ranking member of the opposition who recently lost his number one position plum job has met with his henchmen for the purpose of recruiting hoodlums and cultists to infiltrate the protests.
Commissioner for information and strategy, Declan Emelumba in a statement released in Owerri said the hoodlums have been instructed to attack government buildings and vehicles anywhere they see them.
According to him, the opposition leader gave specific instructions to the thugs to hijack the endsars peaceful protests and turn it into a violent one and create anarchy in the state.
The commissioner said the objective of the violence was to make the state ungovernable for Governor Hope Uzodinma and to create the false impression that the governor is not in control in the state.
He therefore warned those hired for that purpose to reject the ‘ poisoned chalice’ as law enforcement agencies were on alert for trouble makers, adding that anyone caught breaching the peace will be decisively dealt with by the law
He also counselled parents to restrain their children from becoming victims in a proxy war by desperate politicians who are only out to serve their personal interest.
He said while government was not averse to peaceful protests by youths against alleged police brutality, it will not condone the destablization of the state by disgruntled politicians.
Fayemi inaugurates ‘Amotekun’ Corps
Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi, yesterday, inaugurated the Ekiti State Security Network Agency, codenamed ‘Amotekun Corps’ saying it was not meant to replace or discredit other traditional security agencies, but to collaborate with and strengthen their operations.
The Governor explained that the establishment of the security outfit was a child of necessity aimed to solve and address the various security challenges bedevilling the state and the southwest zone in particular and Nigeria in general.
Fayemi, who stated this at the event which also featured Passing out Parade of the newly recruited personnel of the outfit at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado-Ekiti, said fighting crime was a collective responsibility which required input and collaboration of every citizen.
He said the agency, in the course of carrying out its duty, would safeguard the human rights of the citizens of the state as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria adding that all citizens are expected to go about their normal businesses without any fear of intimidation.
The governor, who had earlier carried out inspection of the quarter guard and parade was accompanied by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Biodun Omoleye and the Chairman, Traditional Council in the state and the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Ajibade Alabi among others.
“The precarious security situation we are contending with nationwide has created a palpable fear in the minds of our people, the current challenges of proliferation of small arms and light weapons, kidnapping, assassination, cattle rustling, ritual killing, armed robbery, cultism and youth restiveness are daunting but surmountable.,” he said.
“For the umpteenth time, I hereby reiterate that Amotekun is not a substitute for any of the existing security agency. Amotekun is here to strengthen our general security architecture by collaborating and synergizing with all existing security agencies to ensure security and safety of lives and properties of Ekiti kete using local knowledge and native intelligence.
“As a government, we are determined to put an end to this worrisome development of insecurity, we are encouraged and strengthened by the sense of responsibility and collective support that our people at home and in the diaspora give the Amotekun initiative.
“Amotekun is established to ensure the safety and freedom of not only Ekiti indigene or Yoruba people but everyone resident within and around Ekiti State. It is to protect and safeguard all within our state and indeed within our zone.”
Fayemi, who explained that the impact of COVID-19 had caused the delay in the launch, charged every member of the society to be vigilant and be wary of shielding criminals in their communities adding that cooperation of all was important at this time for the outfit to succeed.