By Demola Akinyemi
As Kwara State prepares for another two weeks of lockdown as declared by Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman on Thursday, a new lease of life awaits artisans in the state who will start receiving alerts of N10,000 each as from Monday.
The governor also said on Thursday that Kwara recorded two new cases of COVID-19 early Thursday, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 11.
The two new cases are contacts of the previous confirmed cases.
At the flag-off ceremony on Thursday of Biometric registration of Transporters and other Artisans in the state Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq said at least N100m would be dispensed as non-interest loan to 20,000 transporters after the enumeration that is going on across the state under the Kwara State Social Investment Programme — which components include conditional cash transfer for the aged (Owo Arugbo), market moni for petty traders, and K-power which targets the youths and unskilled segments of the society.
The soft loan to the transporters is a first in the country to lessen the impact of the lockdown.
Already Palliatives which contains various food items donated by various philanthropists and other stakeholders were still being distributed at press time to the residents by the State Technical Committee of Covid-19 under the chairmanship of the Deputy governor Mr Kayode Alabi.
The governor had also completed 670-bed spaces in strategic parts of the state for the treatments of Covid-19 patients in the state.
Among the areas is the expansive hajj camp in Ilorin which he converted to Isolation center with 600-bed spaces in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the state and take care of the fallout from the ongoing contact tracing of the newly declared five patients at the weekend.
These are contained in the tweeter handle of the governor, which he tweeted lately
His tweeter handle reads, “No nation is sufficiently prepared for this pandemic but we all have to do what we can to fight it while we continue to improve on what we have every day.
“This is exactly what we are doing in Kwara. We have successfully converted our hajj camp into a 600-bed isolation centre…”
“That is apart from the 10-bed ultra-modern, fully-equipped Intensive Care Unit of the Kwara State Infectious Disease Centre (IDC) that our administration had recently built to manage patients in advanced stage of COVID-19”
The governor added,” another 60-bed extension of our isolation centre at the Sobi Specialist Hospital, Alagbado, Ilorin. We have also started the erection of such a facility in Offa local government.”
In order to deepen the control of the spread of Covid-19 across the nooks and crannies of the state, the governor had also directed the 193 wards across the sixteen local governments in the state to form their own committees to deepen enlightenment on the COVID-19 pandemic and own the campaign against community transmission of the virus.
The governor’s chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye said this in a statement.
The statement reads, “The Governor says the time calls for everyone to take responsibility for our collective safety. He, therefore, encourages all the wards in the state to form their own COVID-19 committees. They can pattern their own committees after the template already established at the state level.”
“They can have various subcommittees especially in the area of public enlightenment on COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread, and how to support those who are the hardest hit by the stay-at-home directive in their areas.”
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The statement added that the main focus is for “our people to take ownership of the campaign against the spread of the virus in their respective communities and areas of influence.”
AbdulRazaq also commended the Offa Descendants Union (ODU) and Alanamu Ward for establishing their own COVID-19 committees to support the government.
“We want to see this initiative replicated across the state. We all need to take responsibility for our health. We commend ODU and Alanamu Ward for their proactiveness. This has helped to deepen awareness in these areas. Government is very pleased with the development. It is commendable,” the statement added.
The government meanwhile has commended the Federal Government for the technical and material supports being offered to Kwara State, including the recent donation of one ventilator and three oxygen concentrators by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Meanwhile, no fewer than fifty residents had been arraigned before the state mobile courts and punished for violating the stay at home order.
On Tuesday, an Ilorin Magistrate Court in Kwara state sentenced eight latest violators to one-week community service for allegedly violating the state government stay at home lock-down order in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Kwara.
The state government had consistently expressed serious displeasure over flagrant disobedience to stay at home directive by the residents and therefore set up a Mobile court to sanction the erring residents to serve as deterrent.
The convicts are: Bukola Popoola, Sharradeen Balogun, Dr. Moses Issac, Ibrahim Salami, Saheed Ayuba, Samuel Fadare, Taofeeq Muritala and Alli Abubakar among others.
Recall that a Consultant in University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital Professor Alakija Salami signalled the arrival of Covid-19 patients in the state when he allegedly brought his friend Alh Jimoh Obanimomo who then just returned from the United Kingdom and went on self-isolation to the hospital, allegedly hiding his ailment.
The patient not only died, but his wife also tested positive to the Covid-19 virus while the medical personnel who attended to the deceased were among those who recently tested positive to the Covid-19 virus.
The consultant, Professor Salami had since been placed on suspension by the authorities of UITH, even as the state chapter Nigeria Medical Association (NMS) according to its president Dr Solagberu has promised to launched investigation into the incident when the lockdown is over.
Governor Abdulrazaq had also expressed deep anger over the alleged error concealment of the patient’s medical history by the suspended consultant which opened gates for the Covid-19 virus in the state.
If not for that singular act, perhaps Kwara state might not have recorded any victim based on the proactive steps the government were putting in the place then.