There is high disregard for COVID-19 protocols by the government and residents of Ogun State despite the rising cases of the deadly virus.
Observations by NK Media confirmed that both the government officials and residents of Ogun State have repeatedly violated one COVID-19 protocol or the other.
While those in government are always seen with face masks, they have on many occasions violated the social distancing regulation through political functions, meetings and other events.
When the NCDC raised the alarm of a second wave of the deadly coronavirus, Governor Dapo Abiodun wasted no time to roll out some new measures to stop the spread of the disease.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, in December, Gov Abiodun banned cross-over nights, carnivals and other social gatherings with more than 50 persons.
Also, all bars, nightclubs, pubs, event centres and recreational centres were asked to close down indefinitely.
The governor directed that all markets are to open strictly between 8am and 4pm while maintaining social distancing and observing all COVID-19 protocols, including the use of face mask, provision of hand sanitizer and/or hand-washing equipment at every strategic point within their malls, shops, business premises etc.
It was also ordered that worship centres should not exceed 50 per cent of their capacity, in compliance with all COVID-19 protocols.
“There should be no gatherings of more than 50 people at any event or ceremonies, such as conferences, congresses, office events, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, cross-over nights, end of year parties, weddings, naming, birthdays, anniversaries, street carnivals, etc until further notice,” the government had said.
Any event of up to 200 participants is to be held in an open space.
To okada riders and transporters, it was said that they were not to carry passengers above 50 per cent of their capacity.
Our correspondent reports that the government is yet to review the December COVID-19 guidelines, but both the government and the citizens are no longer paying attention to the regulations.
Checks by our correspondent proved that nearly all the markets in Ogun State fail to make any provision for hand-washing facilities as directed by the government. At Panseke, Kuto, Omida, Lafenwa and other markets in Abeokuta, less than five per cent of the traders could be seen with face masks hung around their chins.
Also, motorcyclists, tricycle riders, as well as commercial drivers now carry full passengers without anybody stopping them. The transporters go about their daily activities in total disregard for COVID-19 guidelines, including the use of face masks.
Bars, nightclubs, pubs, event centres, recreational centres, gyms, spas, viewing centres and others have all resumed business activities in spite of the government’s directive that they should be closed down.
Our correspondent reports that churches and mosques have now relaxed in the manners in which they observe the COVID-19 protocols, with the government looking away. In Abeokuta and other major cities, pastors now host crusades and vigils with hundreds of people in attendance.
Recently, Gov Abiodun and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were in Ikenne for the All Progressives Congress (APC) membership registration and revalidation exercise. Abiodun later visited Iperu and Sodubi, Abeokuta with Chief Olusegun Osoba.
Last week, Abiodun was in Yewa North to sympathise with victims of the recent attacks between herdsmen and their host communities.
After this, he held several stakeholders’ meetings, including the one attended by his colleagues from the North.
It was observed that the majority of these gatherings did not show any observance of social distancing, even as people gathered in numbers above what the government’s guideline stipulated.
NK Media observed that the COVID-19 protocols are still relatively being enforced in medical facilities, banks, courts, government establishments, some schools and few malls within Abeokuta. However, health workers believe that the government has to rise up to the challenge to flatten the curve.
In other places outside the state capital, especially in the rural communities, residents ignore all COVID-19 protocols as they do not believe the virus is real.
“How many people do you know that have had the virus or that have died from the disease. I don’t think there’s Coronavirus. If there is Coronavirus, why are government officials not obeying the protocols? Why did the Federal Government ask us to go and do NIN registration at a time like this?” Tolu Adeyemi, a resident of Owode sought to know.
As of Monday, the NCDC reports that Ogun has recorded up to 4,124 cases of COVID-19 with 617 persons on admission.
About 50 persons have died of complications from coronavirus in Ogun as cases discovered on a daily basis keep soaring.
Meanwhile, 50 persons were arrested and prosecuted by the Ogun State Government on Monday for refusing to wear face masks.
The face mask violators, who were arrested in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, were subjected to two hours of community services after they were pronounced guilty by a mobile court at the governor’s office in Oke-Mosan.
The state government had threatened to arrest and prosecute those caught without using face masks.
According to a circular by the State Head of Service, Selimot Ottun, the new directive took effect from February 22, 2021. Those arraigned were arrested by a task force at the state secretariat in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.