By Ali Abare
Since the outbreak of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, with it’s attendant health and economic consequences, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has not rested on his oars, in his bid to banish the coronavirus scourge from the state.
Determined to leave no stone unturned in the quest to protect the people of the state from the pandemic, Engineer Sule has known no rest, running from pillar to post, in order to harness both human and financial resources to combat the spread of the virus.
Recent statistics indicate that 1, 446, 242 persons contracted the coronavirus around the world, with 308, 146 patients recovering from the pandemic. 83, 424 people however died from COVID-19. In Nigeria, the pandemic is spreading at an alarming rate, with already 254 positive cases recorded. While 44 persons recovered from the virus, 6 deaths were however recorded.
Though Nasarawa State is yet to record a single case of COVID-19, it has however become imperative for the state government to take pre-emptive measures towards protecting the people of the state. This has become even more evident, considering the proximity of the state to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which has continued to record confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Following on the heels of the National Economic Council (NEC), which set up a special committee to coordinate the responses of the federal and state governments to COVID-19, with a view to determining its implication for the economy of the country, the Governor equally constituted the Nasarawa State Committee on COVID-19, headed by a renowned medical doctor and Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe.
Since its inauguration, the Nasarawa State COVID-19 Committee has swung into action, ensuring that the state takes every conceivable step towards preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
Briefing the media recently on some of the measures taken by his administration aimed at protecting the people of the state against COVID-19, Engineer Sule, noted that even though the state is yet to record any incidence regarding the pandemic, report from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Federal Ministry of Health, showing the alarming spread of the pandemic, called for stringent measures to curtail the spread of the virus in Nasarawa State.
Restriction of movement was subsequently enforced, with a 24-hour curfew imposed in Karu Local Government Area, as from April 2, 2020, for an initial period of 14 days. Lafia, the state capital came under a partial curfew, with movement restricted from 8pm to 6am. All markets were ordered closed.
This is just as the state government directed security agencies to enforce the ban on social gathering, including wedding and naming ceremonies. Worship centres, including Mosques and Churches, have been ordered shut, including event centres, cinemas, viewing centres, sport arenas, clubs and beer parlours.
While reiterating the commitment of his administration to continuously monitor closely, implementation of additional measures taken to contain the spread of the virus, Engineer Sule, harped on the need for the people to maintain social distancing as directed by the Federal Government.
A measure that is being taken across the country to contain the spread of the COVID-19, is the establishing of isolation centres for the treatment of persons who already tested positive to the virus, with both the federal government and states making efforts to set up their isolation centres.
Nasarawa State is not left behind in this respect, as Engineer Sule is working tirelessly to make sure that the state sets up befitting isolation centres. Alongside the 110-bed isolation centre at the DASH, the Governor only recently inspected a facility built to serve as hostels for persons displaced by floods, located in Shabu, Lafia North Development Area, to be converted to a 300-bed isolation centre.
While inspecting the facility, Engineer Sule directed for work to start immediately for its conversion to an isolation centre, with beds and other equipment already being expected.
Speaking to the media on the matter, on the occasion of a courtesy call by the national officials of the Nasarawa State Students Association (NASSA), the Governor made it known that there is every need to prepare for any eventuality, especially with the state’s closeness to Abuja, which has continued to record more cases of COVID-19.
“We started work on the 300-bed isolation centre we are opening up in Shabu.
“We are trying to pray for the best, but to prepare for the worst. That is our situation in Nasarawa State. We are trying to ensure that the only way we can protect our people, is by preparing for any eventuality, while praying that that eventuality will not come,” the Governor stated.
Thus, the 300-bed isolation centre is still a work in progress, which when completed, will carry the insignia of Engineer Sule, known for his impeccable excellence in whatever he undertakes.
For a Governor that has left no one in doubt as for his zeal and determination towards making sure Nasarawa State has the best of facilities, in line with the vision of his administration to make the state among the top three most competitive states by 2023, recent uncomplimentary remarks about the yet-to-be completed Shabu Isolation Centre, borders more on distraction.
For this reason, it has become necessary, to appeal to the people of the state, not to distract the Governor through such antics, but to join him and support him, on his tasking responsibility to protect the people of Nasarawa State against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abare is a Special Assistant on Media to His Excellency, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, Executive Governor of Nasarawa State.