youtHouse reporters

Many Abuja residents not obeying COVID-19 protocols, says ex-FCT minister

By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

Former Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Aliyu Modibbo has raised an alarm that many FCT residents are not obeying basic guidelines and protocols put in place by relevant authorities to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Modibbo who is the Chairman FCT Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19, said this at a meeting chaired by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello with the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr. Garba Abari.

Modibbo said: “it was necessary to come up with a coherent communication strategy to reach the people as many of them were not obeying the basic guidelines and protocols put in place by the relevant authorities to prevent the spread of COVI’19.”

FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello said the FCT Administration will partner with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the FCT Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 to draw up strategies for the implementation of new sensitization and awareness campaigns in the fight against COVID-19 in the Federal Capital Territory.

Bello said that the earlier partnership with the organized private sector coordinated by the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee saw the FCT waging a largely successful campaign against COVID’ 19 with the provision and deployment of adequate bed spaces, palliatives, medical supplies and equipment and personnel.

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However, Bello submitted that the FCT was faced with an even bigger challenge taking into consideration the fact that many residents were in denial about the dangers of the virus and therefore not taking the necessary preventive measures against its spread.

This therefore, Bello said necessitated the employment of new communication strategies to spread the message.

His words: “this partnership is aimed at re-invigorating the FCTA’s community communication strategies in the bid to save lives and livelihoods.”

It was therefore agreed at the meeting that an ad-hoc committee be established to work out new communication strategies to be deployed in this next phase of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement issued on Saturday by his Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, the minister said the committee will be Co-chaired by the DG NOA and Chairman of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee and consist of members drawn from the FCTA, the NOA and the Advisory Committee.

Also speaking, the NOA DG Dr. Garba Abari, said that the meeting further brought to the fore the robust partnership between the FCTA and the private sector in the fight against the coronavirus.

He said the new sensitisation strategy to be tentatively known as the COVID-19 New Normal FCT Response intends to go beyond just creating awareness but to begin the process of behavior modification and change of the citizenry.

This new strategy he continued is intended to ensure that citizens take personal responsibility for their health.

Abari added, the committee had the experience and expertise to take the new message to the streets, neighborhood, places of worship and traditional institutions and also create an awareness on the nexus that exists between the containment of the disease and personal responsibility.

He also said that the NOA possessed the necessary expertise and experience to spread the new message.

Also at the meeting were the Permanent Secretary FCTA, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, the Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir Mai’ Borno, the FCTA Director of Information and Communications, Mrs. Stella Ojeme and other Members of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19.

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