By Daniel Tyokua
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has asked key stakeholders in the nation’s captial to prepare better in the fight against coronavirus.
He advised traditional rulers and the six Area Council Chairmen to do more in educating and sensitizing residents at the rural areas on the need to adhere to established protocols in containing COVID-19 in the territory.
In a statement issued by Anthony Ogunleye, Chief Press Secretary to the minister on Tuesday, said the minister spoke at an emergency COVID-19 meeting of stakeholders in the FCT including religious, traditional and political leaders.
Bello who chaired the meeting that had in attendance the Director General of Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID -19, Dr Sani Aliyu, commended FCTA’s frontline health workers for their efforts in the fight against the virus.
On the education and sensitization of residents at the communities, Bello said that the onus of spreading the information of the virus at that level fell heavily on the shoulders of the Area Council Administration, traditional and religious institutions at that level.
He pledged the commitment of the FCT Administration to the fight against the virus, explaining that defeating it required a collective responsibility by all and urged the stakeholders to also play their part by supporting the efforts of the Administration.
On her part, the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu warned against the stigmatization of COVID 19 patients who, she stressed did not deliberately seek to be infected and like the FCT Minister, she also called for the collective efforts of all stakeholders in the fight against the virus.
She also asked residents to disregard misinformation that the government was involved in the spread of the virus and said they should instead focus on curbing its spread through the obedience to extant guidelines of wearing face masks, maintain personal hygiene and observing social distancing.
In his remarks, the Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu commended the FCT Administration for the construction of the road leading to the National Reference Laboratory at Gaduwa, Abuja which he said has increased the efficiency of the facility.
Ihekweazu also commended leadership of the FCT Administration for being proactive in its approach to battling the pandemic and also charged the traditional rulers on sensitizing the people at the grassroot level.
Also, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID 19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said that the best way to fight the virus is through an attitudinal change by the people. This, he said, is where the traditional and religious leaders come in through community engagement.
He disclosed that the virus was now in the communities, adding that the important issue residents should be concerned about is ‘staying alive’ while the pandemic lasts.