The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) says it plans to launch a campaign to create awareness on how wearing face mask in public will help to contain COVID-19 spread.
NCAC Director-General, Mr Olusegun Runsewe, who disclosed this in a statement to newsmen on Monday in Abuja, said the campaign would adhere strictly to the social and physical distancing rules.
According to him, the focal agenda of the council now is to launch a nationwide campaign to encourage Nigerians to brace up for the use of the face masks in public places.
Runsewe said the campaign was important because of the proof that wearing face mask could prevent spread of the micro droplets usually transmitted through the mouth and sneezing through the nose.
“We at NCAC believes that a population-wide face mask-wearing is very important and essential to the suppression and prevention of the communual transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This had initiated the frontal awareness efforts by NCAC to prepare and positively change the attitude and minds of Nigerians to face masks lifestyle.
“Drawing key example from Czech Republic which successfully adopted face mask strategy and thereafter, with the consequent low COVID-19 impact in the entire European countries,” he said
Runsewe said that nationwide awareness drive on the use of face masks would help create a post-COVID-19 cultural economy that would see Nigerian women, widows and youths, producing face masks as part of NCAC’s intervention.
He said that as much as COVID-19 protocols of social distancing, strict hygiene were important, the desirability and importance of wearing face mask could not be overemphasised.
“We are already grounded in providing skill acquisition as part of our cultural mandate.
”With this campaign, we can through our various offices in the six geopolitical zones empower rural women and unemployed youths.
“They will take to tailoring and produce an average of 10 million face masks in three days, made from local fabrics and according to our standard.
“NCAC must be seen to be culturally supportive through this campaign as the spread of the disease across Nigeria, with 200 million people, is scary, despite the intervention of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“The campaign is not in any way the scientific solution to mitigating the scourge, but a knowledge and awareness based effort from NCAC to empower Nigerians to wake up and live with reality of face mask-wearing in public places as a new way of life,” he said.
Runsewe said that the possibility of engaging national musical entertainment response during the campaign would be exploited given the face of “We are the World” musical extravaganza of the 80s.
“We shall adopt that musical effort but it shall be cultural in content and context and we may request musical and cultural troupes to come up with something unique that will appeal to national unity and consciousness.
“The artistic community shall be part of this campaign and we are definitely looking beyond the COVID-19 situation to the next level of truly responding and creating a new culture entrepreneurs.
“Those that can challenge our collective national strength for a better cultural economy tomorrow, to project Nigeria to the world as a nation conscious of its richness in culture and with a people with strong resolve to overcome any challenge of life,” he said.
Recall that NCAC had produced and kitted security agencies, media and selected professionals in the frontline of COVID-19 pandemic, with branded face masks made from adire and Ankara fabrics.
The council also gave out sanitizers made from natural resources sourced locally to promote home-grown efforts to the pandemic and open certain cultural economy.