DELTA State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, yesterday said the decision to lockdown Delta was to guide against the outbreak or spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic in the State.
Briefing newsmen on the outcome of a meeting between Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led Central Committee on Prevention of COVID-19 Pandemic in Delta with chairmen of local government councils in the state, Aniagwu said was to protect lives of citizens against the Coronavirus.
He said council chairmen had the responsibility of sensitizing local communities on the pandemic and to ensure full compliance of all measures announced by the state government, in their domains as custodians at the grassroots.
He explained that “if people don’t move, the virus will not move and so, we appeal to our people to assist the government in averting the spread into our state.
“The governor today (yesterday) continued the sensitisation of key stakeholders in the state. This afternoon, we held meetings with chairmen of local government councils with the Commissioner of Police and others in attendance.
“The essence is to inform them of the steps we have taken as a state, and also intimate them on the need for them to go back to their different local governments and continue the sensitisation and be part of the different actions we have also taken.
“Emphasising the need for people to stay at home, the governor has directed that from 6 a.m. on Sunday, no vehicle will be allowed in or out of the state, while on April 1, all markets will be closed.
“So, we need the cooperation of the local governments to be able to take these messages to their people and also ensure that they cooperate with the security agencies in their different domains with a view to ensuring effective implementation of these decisions that the government has taken.
“We are happy to report that the chairmen have already started taking actions and what they are doing will deepen our desire to get our people to understand why we have to shut down at a time like this. We give God the glory that up till this time, we don’t have it and we pray we don’t have it.”
On his part, Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON in Delta, Mr Itiako Ikpokpo, said that the meeting emphasised the need for council chairmen to go back to their areas and continue the sensitisation on why government’s directives on the shutdown should be strictly obeyed.
Ikpokpo said: “We are preparing for a total lockdown or shut down and we have taken very far-reaching decisions which include time and hours where filling stations can operate because people really need to stay in their homes.
“Markets need to be shut down; essentials like food can only be sold in large spaces like primary schools where wares can be sold and shut by 4 p.m.
We also agreed that marriages of more than 20 people in attendance can’t hold, and of course, the issues of churches and CAN have been over-emphasised.
“We have taken the issues of health very seriously and we have directed that all chairmen should go back to their respective local government areas and ensure that markets are fumigated and cleared.
“Emergency numbers have also been placed on red alert and basically, when you come from abroad in this kind of situation, you must self-isolate; so don’t see it as infringing on your rights when people report your presence to the medical health workers”.