The rector, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, Dr. Francisca Nwafulugo, has expressed concerns over the rate of spread of the killer coronavirus disease in the country. She has called on Nigerians to adhere strictly to medical advice.
Nwafulugo, an engineer, said she was worried that, in less than one month, the confirmed cases across the country had doubled. She called on people to observe social distancing and other expert recommendations to check further spread.
The rector made this known earlier in the week while presenting cartons of 500ml hand sanitizers and about 1,000 face masks to the traditional ruler of Oko, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, at his palace, for the community.
Nwafulugo, who was represented by the deputy rector, Dr. Izuchukwu Onu, told the traditional ruler that the donation was part of the institution’s contribution towards preventing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the area.
She further told the traditional ruler that the products were entirely manufactured by staff and students of the polytechnic, adding that, soon after the lockdown, more products such as table water and paints, among others will come on stream.
She said: “This period calls for self-discipline. The spread of the disease is a source of concern. People should adhere to professional advice to stay safe and healthy.
“We decided to look inwards and maximise the opportunity and expertise to produce and manufacture a lot of quality products, which include these donations. We have also distributed some of the items to our other host communities, Ufuma and Atani, to check the spread.
“We feel it is our social responsibility to do this because it is said that ‘charity begins at home.’ Besides, we are also concerned in building cordial relationships with our host communities for better co-existence.”
Earlier, in a brief lecture on the impact of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world, the director of medical services of the polytechnic, Dr. Ifeoma Monago, enjoined residents to adhere to the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard on personal and environmental hygiene, which, she said, was the only way to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Let us ensure that we wash our hands regularly with running water, maintain social distancing, put on our face masks and cough into our bent elbow, among other protocols.
“Anybody that feels any symptoms of the pandemic should call the NCDC emergency lines, but the bottom line is to stay at home and stay safe,” she said.
Responding, Igwe Laz Ekwueme thanked the rector and the entire management for remembering their host communities in these trying times.
He expressed joy that the items were produced internally by the polytechnic, noting that such was a mark of quality, which polytechnic education has always been known for.
Said he: “We appreciate this gesture from the polytechnic. I am glad that the institution is now insisting on quality, which we have been clamouring for.
“Secondly, providing these protective materials to the community is a sign of good relationship between the polytechnic and the host community. The era of cat-and-dog relationship is over.
“Community service, excellence, quality education, and good public relations are what we expected. I am impressed by the rector’s leadership style but more is needed to cement the relationship further.”
He promised to distribute the items to the seven villages in the community to improve their hygiene and check the spread.
The director of short courses at the polytechnic, Dr. Edwin Chukwuma, thanked the traditional ruler for his audience at this critical period, even as he assured the monarch of the quality of the products.
“These are our high-profile sanitizers that we presented in Abuja during the just-concluded Expo 2020, an exhibition organised by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and we won the award of the best participating institution during the exercise. We are sure it will serve you,” he said.
Other top officials of the polytechnic in the delegation included acting librarian, Mrs. Nwabu Ezemba, director of works, Mr. Nwokoye, an engineer, and the chief security officer, Mr. Abdullahi David.
The delegation also ensured that social distancing was observed even in the group photograph with the monarch.