From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Kogi, Amb. Othman Abdullahi has called on the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to partner the agency in advancing its sensitization on measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Abdullahi made the call when he led the management of the agency to pay a courtesy call on the chairman of the state council of NUJ, Alhaji Adeiza Momoh-Jimoh yesterday in Lokoja.
The state Director said that with the interstate restrictions on movement lifted and the lockdown relaxed, the state was definitely going to have increased social activities with the likelihood of increased rate of infections.
He said that there was need for enhanced sensitization and awareness creation on the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) non-pharmaceutical measures including social distancing, hand washing and application of hand sanitizers as well as use of face or nose masks.
“We had been to schools, primary schools, secondary schools before they were closed down on March 23rd. Since then we have been on sensitization campaigns to the nook and crannies of Kogi State.
“Initially the nine states and FCT that surround us had a lockdown but now they have been relaxed. So, they are free to come in and as you are aware, this is a gateway to the North and South.
“That’s the position of Kogi State. So with all these the economy is opening up. So we are likely to have increase in infection rate unless we take adequate measures.
“We believe as an organisation, that there is no way we can do it alone. So we came up with a strategy of engaging the critical stakeholders especially, the media”, he said.
Responding, the NUJ council chairman said there was still a lot to do as people hardly heed the protocols already laid by the NCDC, WHO and the Federal Government.
In most government offices lack the non-medical consumables that were supposed to be provided adding that even in big hotels, “people just go in and come out as if nothing is happening.”
Momoh-Jimoh pledged the cooperation of the working journalists in the state saying, “We are here to also echo whatever you are doing, publish what you are doing and also contribute to the betterment of our society.”
The NUJ chairman however urged government not to play politics with reopening of schools saying, “If we have opened our churches, our mosques and the markets are already open I wouldn’t know why schools should not open.
“Because, if we are meeting in the markets, we are meeting in the churches and mosques, we are meeting virtually everywhere. I do not believe that schools should remain closed because of COVID-19.