COVID-19: Mixed reactions trail Lalong’s planned fumigation lockdown of Plateau

By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the planned lockdown of Plateau State as the state government intends to fumigate the state as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has been ravaging the the world, Nigeria inclusive, while others see it as a proactive measure, others see it differently.

As the member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Gwottson Dalyop Fom has criticised the action, saying “How much has been approved for the exercise and who or which body made the approval”.

The Lawmaker also asked whether the Plateau State House of Assembly was involved in the approval of a supplementary budget or did the money come through another source that the citizenry should be informed about.

Fom disclosed this to journalists in Jos, the state capital.

It would be recalled that Governor Simon Lalong had on Monday announced a total lockdown of the state, with effect from 12 midnight Thursday 9th to 11pm 15th April, 2020.

The Governor said the aforementioned action was based on government’s plan to fumigate the entire State, which will commence on the 9th April.

Lalong disclosed this while briefing journalists in Jos, the State Capital, on the progress report on the fight against coronavirus pandemic.

He said, “Government has concluded plans to carry out a statewide fumigation exercise which will cover Jos-Bukuru metropolis and all the 17 local government areas of the state.

“To this effect, I am directing a total lockdown, effective 12 midnight of Thursday 9th April 2020 to 11pm of Wednesday 15th April, 2020.

Lalong who is also the Chairman of COVID-19 Taskforce Committee in the state maintained that, “During this period, there will be no movement of any kind except for staff on essential duty”.

The Legislator said, “It gives me joy and an uneasy calm that of the 254 cases in Nigeria, we still do not have any known case in Plateau State.

“Two days ago we woke up to the information from your Government that directed that that there will be a lock down for seven days, ostensibly for the purpose of fumigating the entire state.

“While on the face of it, this seems like a step in the right direction I am constraint to ask a few questions which I do believe the people of Plateau State will like to get answers to as well.

According to him, “Plateau people will like to know what areas will be subject to the fumigation. It is necessary to know which parts will be affected directly so as to better prepare citizens who are going to be affected.

“What is going to be the medium of fumigation and what chemicals will be used in the exercise? He asked.

“Will the rains that has started becoming constant, not adversely affect the fumigation?

“This need to fumigate must have been informed by a clear and present danger that the Plateau citizens must have been labouring under.

“We will like to know how eminent the threat was and how the proposed fumigation will address the danger posed to the populace.

“How much has been approved for the exercise and who or which body made the approval?

“Was the Plateau State House of Assembly involved in the approval of a supplementary budget approval or did the money come through another source that the Plateau people should be informed about? He further asked.

“Has the government fully considered what the Corona Virus situation will portend and how it will affect the Plateau people especially the poorest of the poor amongst us?

“If so what palliative measures have been put in place to alleviate their sufferings?

“What other measures and plans does the Plateau State government have to ensure that if there is a real danger of disease and hunger in Plateau State that we are prepared to deal with the situation in a very transparent and forthright manner?

“Is there a list of those who have enjoyed the twenty thousand naira palliative from the Federal Government?

“If yes I will like to know which of my constituents got the money if any”, he stressed.

Fom who represents Jos South Constituency in the State Assembly, however said the pandemic stares at all the citizenry in the face and all need to be united in purpose and also be “our brothers keepers at this time”.

“I believe that monies that are used at this time should be judiciously used with due respect to the Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

He maintained that the people of the state have great need for food at this trying time.

“While we say God forbid it, we must also be realistic and prepare.

“Mr. Governor Sir, we are happy with your confirmation of not being in any danger yourself after the scare of a few weeks back.

“I wish to use this medium to ask Plateau people to please adopt the social distancing and hand washing advisory of the World Health Organization (WHO)”.

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