- It is my pleasure to address you on the state of things in regards to our collective fight against COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank you for your relentless cooperation in our joint effort to get rid of the pandemic. You have been resilient, patriotic and cooperative. I am very proud of our collective successes so far.
- As I indicated in my previous addresses, we have continued to be responsive in our management of the pandemic in line with the progress made and the general outlook of incidence in our State and the Country.
- As you are aware that we work in collaboration with the Federal Government and other stakeholders in our fight to effectively combat this virus. Ekiti has continued to be a model in the country in terms of pro-activeness, responsiveness and effectiveness. In many instances, our protocols have been wholly or partly adopted by other sub-national authorities, just as we have also benefited from examples from other jurisdictions. This collaboration has been of tremendous importance to the overall successes that have been achieved within the State and the country as a whole.
- Ekiti Kete, last month, I announced to you that our schools would be opened on August 10, 2020 to allow our final year senior secondary school students to join their counterparts in writing the ongoing West African Examination Council (WAEC)’s Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE).
- I am pleased to inform you that since our children started their examination on August 17, there has been no spike traceable to them or their teachers. This shows that our preventive measures to safeguard them from being infected has been effective.
- Similarly, I am also sure many of you have received the information that the Federal Government, working in conjunction with States, has announced that schools could resume as from September as COVID-19 cases continue to steadily decline nationwide.
- Consequently, we are encouraged to further open our schools to other classes as from September 21, 2020. It is therefore my pleasure to announce that more classes will be reopened in the State as follows:
i. Students in SSS II, JSS III and Primary 6 are to resume on September 21, 2020.
ii. Students in SSS I, JSS II and Primary 5 and 4 are to resume from September 28, 2020;
iii. While students in JSS I and Primary 1-3 are to resume on October 19, 2020.
iv. However, pupils in Kindergarten and Nursery Schools are expected to resume on November 2, 2020 when we hope more assurances of safety for their age bracket would have been established.
v. Tertiary institutions of learning in Ekiti may begin to reopen as from October 2, 2020 but this is subject to their level of readiness and compliance with the established protocols. They are to liaise with the Ekiti COVID-19 Task Force for guidance on the appropriate measures to be put in place before reopening.
- Ekiti Kete, you would recall that I directed that our religious worship centres could begin services as from August 09, 2020. One of the conditions was that they could only hold one service. After a careful review and advice by the experts, I am glad to announce that worship centres can now hold two services on Friday, Saturday or Sunday as the case may be but mid-week activities and night vigils remain suspended for now. Other protocols and regulations concerning worship centres reopening still subsist.
- Similarly, Government has reviewed rules regarding social events as it regards use of halls and events centres for meetings and occasions. Owners of halls and event centres may now be allowed to rent out their facilities but under no condition should such a facility contain more than 50% of its normal capacity. This is to allow for social distancing. Events centres are expected to observe all protocols prescribed for religious centres and to obtain certificate of readiness before opening.
- Meanwhile, Government has observed with disappointment, the consistent breach of social-distancing regulations and the use of face masks in public places and social events.
- While we have progressively responded to the initial lockdown with gradual relaxation in line with the progress made, we must remain vigilant as we cannot afford to indulge ourselves such that a spike may recur as a result of flagrant disobedience to the established protocol
- We cannot afford to go back into another round of lockdown with its attendant repercussions. This point needs to be emphasized; though, there is a national decline in number of cases, there has been a noticeable upsurge in Ekiti.
- One proof of this is the unpleasant but consistent figures that we have recorded in the last month. As at the time I addressed you on August 5, 2020, there were only 152 confirmed cases in Ekiti. Today we have recorded a total of 299 cases which means we recorded 147 new cases within a month. You would recall that the total recorded cases from March to August were 152. This suggests that from August to date, we have had near 100% new cases, even while national number has maintained a stable decline.
- It is in view of this, that I have issued a new directive to the law enforcement agencies to ramp up their enforcement activities. We should not delude ourselves that we are out of the pandemic until there is a reliable vaccine in place. Even as we continue to evaluate situations and act promptly, I urge you to take personal measures and responsibility by adhering to all existing protocols, as not doing so, could jeopardize our collective wellbeing.
- As you are probably aware, we are doing everything possible to continue to support our entrepreneurs, artisans and self employed residents. We assisted over 200 businesses to access the COVID loan from CBN through the Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA). We will also ensure that Ekiti residents benefit from the multiple initiatives from the Federal Government to support the economy, including the recently launched COVID Survival Fund.
- As I end this address, I want to commend our team for a great work they have done. I want to particularly commend our former Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Mojisola Yaja-Kolade for doing a great job of managing our COVID-19 response. I express my sincere gratitude to our medical and health workers in the frontline and our COVID-19 Response Resource Mobilisation Team and all donors to our COVID-19 Support Fund.
- Finally, I urge you to keep safe in all fronts; especially as the rains are here. We must not only keep safe in terms of COVID-19 prevention, we must also ensure that the drainages are kept free to forestall flooding, just as our drivers must keep safe to avoid accidents in these last quarter as we move towards the end of the year.
- May we all be alive to see the end of the year in peace and joy.
Thank you for listening.
Alale Ekiti a gbe a oo.