Rivers State Government does not want Coronavirus to come into Rivers State~ Pastor Paulinus Nsirim.

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    Today the Coronavirus Public Enlightenment Committee held the last round of sensitisation with Military and Paramilitary personnel, International Oil Companies as well as Local Government Chairmen from across the state.
    During the meeting with the Military and Paramilitary, the Chairman of the Committee on Coronavirus Public Enlightenment and Commissioner for Information, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, asked for cooperation in sharing the information with members of their organisations, so that preventive measures can be put in place.

    The Committee educated the various groups about the steps the government has taken to ensure the spread of Coronavirus does not get to Rivers State, even with the influx of visitors as an investment destination of choice.
    The military and Paramilitary

    “Today we are meeting with the military and Paramilitary because all of you who are here this afternoon have a role to play in the protection, not just of lives and properties as it were, but because of your interactions with those that will come in from all parts of the world. I say this with a deep sense of responsibility, because if those in the military and Paramilitary lower their guards, the country will be in trouble.” He stated.

    He explained the the state has deployed all within its power health wise and other wise to try to prevent an outbreak of Coronavirus in the state.
    “Rivers State Government does not want Coronavirus to come to Rivers State. Some of you here are either at our land borders, sea borders and air borders. One way or the other, you are positioned at vital entry points in this country, including Rivers State. And so it behoves us to get informed, as they say, knowledge is power. In Rivers State, our position is prevention is better than cure.”
    He explained that the Information that will be passed on today will help them be onboard and abreast with preventive measures to stop the scourge from entering the state.

    The military and Paramilitary personnel thanked the committee for their efforts and commitments to ensure everyone in the state is safe, and they promised to play their part at making sure that the vision of the committee is fulfilled, as they will spread the word to those in their enclave.
    During the meeting with the International Oil Companies, the committee asked them for absolute cooperation as they are the ones in direct interface with expatriate workers who travel frequently. Members representing the IOCs did not only assure the committee of their commitment and roles they have played in carrying out preventive measures to avoid an outbreak of the virus amongst their workers, which can spread to residents across the state, they asked for ways they can assist the government in repressing the deadly disease from penetrating the state. They explained that this is part of their social responsibility to the state, as a direct attack on the state is a threat to their revenue generation. Both parties agreed to schedule another meeting to streamline the areas the IOCs can come in, in terms of assistance.

    At the meeting with the Local Government Chairmen, the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim charged them to engage Traditional Rulers, Community Development Committee as well as Town Announcers to sensitize the grassroots.
    “People migrate to Port Harcourt in their hundreds everyday. So as a responsive government, His Excellency, Chief Barr Nyesom Ezenwo Wike felt strongly that there is need for proper awareness creation, to pass prevention messages at the grassroots. You are the ones that are closest to the people.
    For you local government chairmen, as the leaders of the grassroots, you are the ones closest to those at the rural communities. Your role in passing this preventive messages cannot be over emphasized. We are enjoining you to use all the various stakeholder groups at the ward level, to create awareness. If you need to use town announcers, use town announcers. If you need to get Traditional Rulers, or the CDCs even though we have engaged them at the state level, engage them,” he added.
    The representative from the Ministry of Health and Director of Epidemiology, Dr. Nwadiuto, explained that each local government, like every hospital has been mandated to set aside an area of isolation in their various general hospitals, and advised chairmen to install veronica bucket which is a low cost handwashing method across their Local Government Areas for residents, to ensure the first step of prevention, washing of hands, is facilitated. She urged the chairmen to cooperate with health workers to spread the word across their LGAs by carrying out door to door sensitisation in the language the locals understand, to be safeguarded from the Coronavirus.

    Speaking on behalf of all the chairmen present, the chairman of all chairmen, Hon. Victor Ihunwo Nyeche promised to ensure that all local government chairmen adhere to the directives, as the health of their residents is their priority. He promised that proper sensitisation will be carried out at the local government level in order to reach the grassroots. He thanked the state government for their prompt action at ensuring the health of residents in the state is protected from the outbreak.

    The Commissioner for Youths, Hon. Prince Ohia Obi, thanked all organisations for attending the interactive season, which is for the collective good of the state.
    On his part, the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, urged the Ministry of Health to carry out inspections to ensure all parties involved adhere to the guidelines of prevention, so that there will be no laxity which can be detrimental to the strides the committee has taken to sensitize the various stakeholder groups across the state, which began last Friday with the sensitisation of the Community Development Committee from the 23 LGAs of Rivers State.

    The committee recorded huge success and feedback on their outing.
    The event came to a close with presentation of hand bills to each stakeholder groups, which was done by the Chairman of the Committee and Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim.

    Joy Oyaghiri-Fagbemi
    19th March, 2020.