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COVID-19: NGO decries non-compliance with FG’s social distancing directive in Gombe communities


COVID-19: NGO decries non: Jewel Environmental Initiative (JEI), an NGO, has decried non-compliance to Federal Government and health authorities’ directives on social distancing in Gombe State, which is yet to record any Coronavirus case.

Mr Ismail Bima, Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Tuesday thatignoring such measures might put residents at risk of contracting the disease.

Bima said that though no case has been recorded in the state, there was need for the people to adjust to the guidelines by the government to ensure a collective fight against the spread of COVID-19.

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“Many residents are still not observing  the social distancing measures, especially in the markets.“Washing of hands alone without maintaining social distancing can still expose residents to the risk of contracting the disease. 

“The level of compliance to social distancing is something to worry about. If you look at some market places, people are not adhering to the call. Last week, I was at Dukku market.

“People gathered there were going about their normal businesses. They were not adhering to the restriction on social gathering and distancing restriction.

“Washing your hands alone cannot stop the disease; so our social distancing and movement restriction must be obeyed too,’’ he said.

He said that his organisation had embarked on massive awareness campaign in three local government areas – Yamaltu-Deba, Gombe and Akko – to sensitise the people on measures to take for the state to stay safe.

According to him, in the course of the campaign to villages around Gombe town, he observes that some residents did not believe that Coronavirus was a disease.

“Some residents believe that COVID-19 is a western conspiracy. If it is a western conspiracy, why are the European countries worst hit by the pandemic? COVID-19 is real and we must fight it now.

“You know religion plays a vital role in this issue. If religious leaders do not preach on this, then people will not take it seriously. This is why we have also enlightened religious leaders.

“We also gave out soaps to encourage washing of hands. Many use water but we insisted that it must be running water.

This campaign must continue as government alone cannot do everything,’’ Bima said.

The chief executive commended the state government for its `rapid and massive’ response to the pandemic, noting that in spite of the fact that there was no case in Gombe, the state government had responded in a commendable manner.

“I commend Gov. Inuwa Yahaya; the Commissioner for Health, Dr Ahmed Gana; the taskforce and all traditional rulers who have taken the campaign to several radio stations and communities.

’’Bima, however, warned that with the porous borders, the risk of spread of the virus would be higher.

“ Our borders like Bauchi road, Dadin-Kowa road, you won’t believe how people are passing; this should stop,’’he said.

COVID-19: NGO decries non

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