TEXT OF PRESS BRIEFING BY PROF. DANLADI ABOK ATU, SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE & COORDINATOR, PLATEAU STATE COVID-19 TASK FORCE. 28TH JUNE 2020.
- Gentlemen of the press, you will recall that his Excellency, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Simon Bako Lalong, Executive Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of the Covid-19 Task Force, addressed you on 11th June 2020 where he announced the lifting of the total lockdown earlier imposed on the State until further notice.
- At that briefing, the Governor laid out the conditions for the lifting of the lockdown based on the fact that the citizens are to henceforth take responsibility for their health and the health of others.
- Let me remind you that the Governor lifted the total lockdown after widespread consultations with key stakeholders which included: CAN, JNI, Marketers and Traders Association, NURTW, Union of Tricycles Operators, Hotel, Recreational and Catering Services Association, Plateau State Traditional Council, NLC, TUC, NUJ, NBA, NMA, National Association of Nurses and Midwives and other professional Health Workers, PIDAN, NCWS and Plateau Youth Council.
- If you remember, the following directives were given by the Governor during that briefing:
i. That the curfew imposed by the Federal Government from 10pm – 6am will continue to be observed until further directives are issued.
ii. That there shall be no entry whatsoever, into public offices, banks, markets, stores, tricycles and vehicles without wearing facemasks. Violators of this order will be arrested and taken before the mobile courts.
iii. Cultural festivals, anniversaries and large-scale gatherings remain banned.
iv. Ban on commercial motorcycles will remain in force, except Dispatch Riders and other essential service operators.
v. The ban on illegal Sunday markets on Ahmadu Bello Way, and Bukuru Metropolis remains in force.
vi. Churches and Mosques with large spaces shall be allowed to accommodate more than 50 worshippers under strict observance of the use of facemasks, social distancing, hand washing, use of infrared thermometers and use of sanitizers.
vii. That all public places like Markets, Shops, Hotels, Restaurants that fail to comply with the hygiene or sanitation regulations, social distancing as well as use of facemasks shall be penalized and where appropriate, bear any cost or penalty as would be specified.
viii. All public places like Markets, Shops, Hotels, and Restaurants that fail to comply with the hygiene or sanitation regulations, social distancing as well as use of facemasks shall be shut down and the owners prosecuted.
ix. The inter-state borders shall remain closed with greater enforcement.
x. All Schools are to remain closed.
- Now after this development, we have had cause to issue press statements expressing serious concern over the flagrant disregard for some of the guidelines announced by the Governor by many citizens and organisations.
- In particular, Government viewed with dismay the non-compliance with regards to the wearing of face masks, social distancing, hand washing and the use of sanitizers and others outlined earlier.
- This necessitated us issuing another press statement on June 22nd to warn against this uncooperative attitude and caution that Government may be forced to take more drastic measures to enforce compliance.
- We have since commenced enforcement and as you are aware, last week we sealed some places and arrested violators. This was the pilot phase where we measured the impact of our Strategies.
- Gentleman of the press, Government has equally been worried about the increase in the number of cases in the State even as we test more people. This means that the risk of COVID-19 is still very high, and as such, we cannot relax.
- That is why the Chairman of the Plateau State Covid-19 Task Force, Governor Simon Lalong has directed that we redouble our enforcement efforts across the entire State with SPECIAL EMPHASIS on 6 of the Local Government areas with the highest prevalence of corona virus cases.
- Therefore, commencing from tomorrow, Monday 29th June 2020, the enforcement teams will wage a robust action on defaulters whether citizens or organisations particularly in the 6 Local Governments which include Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi, Mangu, Kanam and Kanke.
- It should be understood that the next phase will see other Local Governments also witnessing the type of enforcement and enlightenment that we shall launch tomorrow.
- This enforcement will go simultaneously with public education campaign by Health Educators to further enlighten the citizens on the dangers of the disease and what to do to be protected.
- It is important to make it abundantly clear that this action is not in any way aimed at stigmatizing people living in these Local Government Areas or affected communities, but an exercise targeted at ensuring their safety and containment of the pandemic.
- I am stating this upfront because we are aware of the mischief by some individuals and groups who specialize in spreading falsehood and trying to discourage people from abiding to government directives.
- We shall remain focused on ensuring that we protect our citizens from the Corona Virus pandemic. All we continue to ask for is the cooperation and support of all citizens towards defeating the disease.
- Let me register the profound appreciation of His Excellency, Governor Simon Lalong, the Executive Governor and Chairman of the Covid-19 Task Force, to all well-meaning citizens and organisations who have consistently complied with the guidelines issued in the fight against the pandemic.
- At this point, I invite the Commissioner for Health, to brief you on the current statistics of the disease in the State, including the five local government areas I mentioned.
- Thank you.
Prof. Danladi Abok Atu
Secretary to the Government of the State and Coordinator, Plateau State Covid-19 Task Force,June 28, 2020.