Covid19: Anambra Concerned Citizens Call For Proactive Synergy to fight the Scourge.

By Chigozie Igbo Jr

The Anambra Covid-19 Network, comprising of Civil Society Advocates, Media Professionals,  State and Non-State Actors and other concerned Citizens, have called on Anambra state government to form a synergy with the civil society to fight the scourge in the state.

The group comprising of Prince Chris Azor, Chairman, Anambra State Civil Society Network (ANCSONET), Convener, Alfred Ajayi, Media Consultant, Chukwemeka Jideani
Legal Practitioner. Executive Director, Ethics and Corporate Compliance Institute of Nigeria, Gab Okpalaeze (ED, Media Rights Initiative), Iyom Faustina Igbasi.(Udo Women Organization), Chisom Chude esq, FIDA, Juliet Ifechukwu, Anambra State Coordinator,
International Youth Alliance For Family Planning, Francisca Ebelechukwu.Sustainabe Development for Peace and Social Responsibility Centre, Dr Mmasinachi Umeh, Life  Care Protection Rehabilitation and Safety Organization, Kenechukwu Makwudo.(Academia), made this call after a thorough and careful analysis of Governor Willie Obiano's broadcast today to Ndi Anambra.

In a press release made available to Nigerian Notch Newspaper, the group said that "we received with deep concern  the announcement about the  confirmation of a first case of coronavirus disease in the Anambra State on Friday, the 10th of April, 2020. This development is a clarion call on all of us to fasten our belts and join the fight against this dreaded viral disease, now ravaging humanity"

They stressed that the release became imperative after a careful review of happenings in the state prior to the confirmation of the index case, and the address by the  Governor, Chief (Sir) Willie Obiano on the development.

They however commended the responsiveness of the state government especially by
converting the newly constructed NYSC camp at Mbaukwu-Umuawulu to an isolation centre, and the designation of health facilities as treatment centres.

They went on to say that the advisories and orders issued by the government as well as the cooperation of the residents in complying with instructions from relevant authorities are laudable.

Furthermore that applauded the contributions made by individuals and corporate bodies towards the fight  against the pandemic which is recognized, as it has served to a great extent towards cushioning the effects of the pandemic on the citizenry. The network of concerned citizens, also appreciated  the efforts of the Committee constituted to handle all matters relating to Covid-19 and commended them for a job well done so far.

They maintained that, despite all that had been done, there are still gaps which should be promptly filled, going forward to ensure the pandemic does not spread further.

The group stated that, although, the Governor said enough healthcare practitioners have been trained, concerns from stakeholders point to inadequacies in various segments of the healthcare apparatus in the state. They stressed that there is need for more inclusive and participatory capacity building, to steam the tide of the pandemic in the state.

They however lamented that the extension on restriction of movement as pronounced by the Governor did not give grace period for citizens to stock up food items, with concerns for the government to come up with specifics on essential services exemption.

They however, wanted a clarification on those affected by the lockdown to avoid a situation of conflict of interest, as they asked if street shops are affected by the "comprehensive" lockdown?

The group opined that asking the citizens to carry hand sanitizers, and wear face masks is good. However, The Network worries about what has happened to the promise made by the Governor in his previous address, to engage indigenous tailors in massive production of face masks, as It is not too much for the Government to procure and share alcohol based sanitizers to residents.

The Network is equally worried about threat of arrests and prosecution of citizens who violate the numerous orders, when the State government had not promulgated any law or formal Executive Order on COVID-19 pandemic.

They however recommended that the state government should flatten the curve of COVID-19 pandemic, as both government and citizens should make sacrifices and eschew all forms of divisive tendencies, which may arise from the envisaged lockdown and its enforcement.

The group stressed that the state government must mobilize for inclusion and participation of wide range of stakeholders of both State and Non State Actors, to build the needed capacity to ramp up strategic engagement and tackle this very challenging pandemic.

COVIC-19, they said is obviously a challenge to social and economic wellbeing of citizens, as such, it calls for a well articulated and coordinated palliative measures to cushion its effects on citizens.

They harped on the need  for prudent, transparent, accountable and equitable management of palliative
resources, and  recommended a separate sub-committee of people of proven integrity to manage the resources and palliatives to the citizenry.

The group advised the state Government to peacefully engage the citizens, as stringent enforcement of compliance should be the last resort, as the support of the citizens is undoubtedly needed in this fight against the scourge

They however advised the citizenry to also see this as a battle between life and death and give their support to ensure victory is achieved in the long run.

The group called on affluent citizens from within and outside the State to once again keep contributing financial and material resources to this humanitarian course.

They advised the State Government to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and other necessities, and to as well Initiate welfare packages for medical and health workers as well as other stakeholders, who are critically engaged in this fight against Covid-19, inorder to encourage them in giving their best.

They stressed that all channels of sensitization and communication including the conventional and social media, must be adequately mobilised to educate and inform the populace about the pandemic and how to prevent its spread within the State.

They called on outfits like; NOA, WAI Brigade, Vigilante groups to be effectively deployed and engaged to support the fight against the scourge in the state, while adding a human face to it.

The Network hopes that if Government does not shirk its responsibilities and the citizens are patriotic enough to comply with all instructions, this crisis will soon become history.