By Our Correspondents |
The executive order signed by President Muhammadu Buhari has left civil servants in the country with no choice than to observe COVID-19 protocol fervently.
Buhari had in January signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy based on his powers in Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.
The signing of the executive order is in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Compulsory wearing of face masks was imposed, with large gatherings restricted.
Under the Act, offenders are to face conviction, fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.
In many states of the country, it was observed that while the COVID-19 protocols are not observed in some of public places, there is strict compliance in government offices.
In Abuja, while there is low compliance in most of the markets, government establishments are enforcing the COVID-19 protocol.
At the National Hospital Abuja, the level of compliance was high as both visitors and staff were seen on face masks and hand sanitizers at the point of entrance and inside the hospital.
A relative of a patient who is on admission in the hospital said she was not allowed into the hospital until she had to go and get a face mask.
Director of Pharmacy in the hospital, Pharm Kilani Jelili, confirmed to our correspondent that without a face mask, there is no entry.
On the level of compliance, he said it is 100 per cent.
In the Asokoro District Hospital, same measure is applied at the entrance but the compliance level is not optimal as many people were seen removing their face mask inside the hospital, showing that many of them only wear the mask while entering since they will not be allowed in without a face mask.
A doctor in the hospital told our correspondent that there is compliance but it is not 100 per cent.
Also in Niger state, the government made it compulsory for all civil servants to wear face masks before they are allowed to enter the state secretariat.
LEADERSHIP observed at the state secretariat yesterday that in line with the order, most of the civil servants and the visitors were wearing masks.
In most of the government establishments such as the state secretariat that houses most of the ministries in Kaduna, no visitor is allowed into the secretariat unless he or she has their temperature checked and hands sanitized.
Although there used to be mobile courts that handle cases of noncompliance with the guidelines, they are no longer seen on the roads.
Jide Bodunde who said wearing of face mask is for the good of all, lamented that many do not wear face masks, and that in most cases when they wear, they wore them wrongly or only on the jaw.
Also, Hajiya Salamatu Tijanni said even most government people don’t obey the guidelines when they carry out most of their political functions.
In Jalingo, the capital of Taraba, it was observed that normal day-to-day activities are going on, even though Police and traffic officers threaten to arrest drivers and Keke operators for not wearing masks.
The police are, for now, the only law enforcement agency that prosecute violators.
Our correspondent visited some government establishments such as the Public Complaints Commission, state House of Assembly, federal government secretariat, Bureau for Local Government Affairs, Taraba State Primary Health Care Agency, Taraba State Board of Internal Revenue, amongst others.
In Enugu, it was observed that most of the civil servants and workers in private companies are now wearing face masks.
At Igbariam Primary School, Achara Layout, Enugu, a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity commended the state government over the efforts it has been making to make school environments in the state conducive for children to learn while also taking steps to stop the spread of the deadly pandemic.
In Ekiti State, our correspondent reports that residents are doing their best to comply with the executive order which makes wearing of facemask, observation of social and physical distancing, and other COVID-19 safety protocols compulsory in public places.
Most government officials and civil servants make use of the face masks and ensure physical distancing at most functions and offices.
Religious bodies and faith-based organisations also made it compulsory for members to wear masks, but during their gatherings, observing social and physical distancing have always been their challenges.
In Akwa Ibom state, it was also gathered that the majority of residents hardly comply with the directives, the government has said.
Dissatisfied with the development, the state government recently issued an order, making it mandatory for residents to compulsory reverse the trend or face severe consequences.
The commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini- Emem Obong said people no longer wear face masks thereby, exposing their lives and that of others to danger.
A visit to some schools in Uyo metropolis indicated that both teachers and students have since abandoned the safety measures as the washing hand basin earlier visible in front of the institutions have all disappeared.
In Rivers State, it was however observed that residents are complying with all COVID-19 protocols, including compulsory use of face-masks and other preventive measures.
LEADERSHIP observed that the compliance became more effective a few days ago when the Rivers State House of Assembly resolved that the enforcement of wearing face marks in public places in the state be sustained and implemented as passed by the house.
The resolution of the House followed a motion by the House Committee chairman on Health, Sam Ogeh, over the attitude of some residents who refuse to wear face masks in public places in the state.
In Calabar, wearing of face masks is a must before entering the governor’s office.
At the entrance of the governor’s office, workers are made to pass through an infrared scanner, just as they are also asked to apply hand sanitizer and facemask.
In Kwara state, the use of face masks and other COVID-19 safety protocols are being enforced in public institutions.
The director, Corporate Affairs, of the University of Ilorin, Mr Kunle Akogun said the management has made it compulsory for all students to have five different face masks for their use on campus.
The chief press secretary to Kwara State governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, said security agencies have been asked to deploy all lawful means to enforce all COVID-19 safety protocols in all public institutions across the state.
In Ebonyi, the state government had through the state radio and television announced that anyone seen outside his or her house without a face mask would be arrested and prosecuted according to the state Covid-19 laws.
FG Rolls Out Strategy For Vaccination, Says Persons Under 18 Not Eligible
Meanwhile, the federal government has launched the T• E• A• C• H Strategy for COVID-19 vaccination and Electronic Management of Immunisation Data (EMID) to ensure the effective roll-out of the vaccines as the first batch arrives in the country today.
The e-registration link for COVID-19 vaccination is https://nphcdaict.com.ng/publicreg.
Nigeria is anxiously expecting the arrival of about four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility (COVAX).
Speaking during the launch yesterday in Abuja, minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said T.E.A.C.H. is an acronym for a 5-point strategy developed by the vaccination implementing arm of the Federal Ministry of Health.
The minister noted that the EMID is a homegrown strategy critical to addressing challenges with integrity and quality data and ultimately, primary health care data.
In his remarks, executive director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed that an e-registration link has been provided by the government to enable eligible Nigerians register for the COVID-19 vaccination.
“Phase 2 will target older adults aged 50 years and above and those with co-morbidities aged 18 – 49 years of age. “Phase 3 – Those in states/LGAs with high disease burden and who missed phases 1 and 2. “Phase 4 – Other eligible population as vaccines become available.”
He added that people will need to be scheduled for the vaccination by filling the EMID and those who are not health workers will be made aware of when they can get their turn.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said persons under the age of 18 years are not eligible for vaccination.
Speaking at the COVID-19 national briefing yesterday, the minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said, “We shall begin the roll out with the vaccination of frontline health workers who are our first line of defence. Our goal is to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine in a phased and equitable manner, ultimately vaccinating all eligible Nigerians within the next two years to ensure herd immunity.
“World Health Organisation recommendation is not to vaccinate persons under 18 years of age, until more scientific data is available on any effects on growing children.
“It is important to mention that Nigeria is expecting enough vaccines of three types, to cater to our needs, with the option to increase supply if need be.