20th of March 2020
The Executive Governor
Lagos State Governors Office
Attention: Mr Babajide Sanwo Olu
Our humble advice concerning The Coronavirus Pandemic and it’s reciprocal Governmental Probable Palliatives:
I am humbly writing this letter not only as the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party in Lagos State but as a concerned citizen, a passionate Lagosian and a senior stakeholder in the management of affairs of our dear state and the welfare of her citizens.
We are all aware of the COVID 19 pandemic and its continued destructive health and economic nature on most nations.
As you are aware , our country Nigeria has not been spared in this global crisis.
Consequently, we must also admit that the leading countries across the world have shown that they are overwhelmed by their own crises and many have admitted that this is an unparalleled occurrence.
This means that they don’t have the capability or capacity to entertain any assistance from developing nations like ours (this I can conclude from the present circumstances and information we are receiving through the electronic media).
Having said this, we should also realize that Lagos State is the economic heart beat of the Nation and as such can not afford to be drowned by this virus.
Consequently, we would like to contribute our own little quota to your administrations fight to control, contain and definitely cushion the effects of this crisis on our citizens.
The following will fall under the Control and Containment:
(1) Pasting of Enlightenment Posters all over the state in Pidgin, English, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo, specifically alerting the citizens on the virus and precautions to take urgently
(2) Electronic, Social Media and Newspaper Enlightenment adverts on the virus
(3) Visitation of properly kitted health officers on a testing and disinfecting drive in the densely populated areas like Mushin, Agege, Ajeromi Ifelodun, Oshodi Isolo, Alimosho, Lagos Island, Amuwo Odofin, Surulere and Shomolu. Other Local Governments could be included on a lighter scale.
(4) COVID 19 Virus Test Centre’s to be created in each primary health care centre or at every public school in the state since they will be vacant at this time since they have been closed.
As much as I believe the closing of schools and reduction of gatherings in churches and mosques are all steps that would help the limit the spread, we should be aware that during the course of our daily routines as citizens of this state we would be forced to go on public transport, visit the open markets and malls, visit the banks and ATMs, airports, restaurants, hotels and a host of other places.
I believe the visitation of health workers to these locations is imperative, their job would be to set the stage for Control and Containment.
Also social distancing must be enforced in all means of public transport. This means that only half the capacity of all means of public transport should be utilised. If a bus usually sits 18, it should be limited to 9 passengers or less.
Your Excellency, I believe we should start right away by opening up a volunteer hotline with some stipend attached for those patriotic citizens that might want to be tested and also go through the necessary training to prepare them for the task of enlightenment and disinfecting procedure, which I have mentioned earlier.
Lastly, I would request that our state starts the Emergency Construction of a new 1000+ Disease control centre which could be used now and in the future as a full fledged state of the art Modern Health Centre, this could be partly financed by the private sector and cushioned through Tax Breaks extended to donors. A time frame of between 6-8months could be given for its completion but should be planned in 200 bed phases in order to get in early commissioning and usage. The Federal Governments assistance would be needed here.
Using an 80 bed space in Yaba is not acceptable and can not continue to be our standard of preparedness.
Your Excellency in addition to these health related actions, the state needs some economic palliatives, and we must identify areas of need or interest that governments assistance would be extremely needed.
(1) The reduction of the pump price of PMS further for public transport would be a good step (2) The introduction of a subsidy in the Power sector must be considered as many of our citizens are on prepaid meters. (3) A business Hardship grant to all small and medium scale business owners like hair dressers, barbers, tailor’s, food vendors etc who will definitely struggle to stay afloat as people gradually remain indoors and activities reduce to a minimum.
(4) We also believe that the State Government should as a matter of urgency place an order for a sizeable number of surgical mask, suits/gear and hand sanitizers that could be used at public places like malls, airports, train stations, offices etc. This should be made available either at subsidized prices or free of charge.
(5) Having Test centres sited all over the state is very important, this will help identify carriers of this virus quickly and locally and as such, they could go through self quarantine or they could be isolated immediately, till they are well.
(5) In order to do this, all our stadiums in Lagos and other such large venues can immediately be converted to make shift hospitals while recovering patients in the various hospitals can be transfered there while the present wards could be converted into (ICUs) Intensive Care Units.
Finally, your Excellency I believe prayer does help and we should chose a day every week to pray against the spread of this strange Virus that is ravaging the entire world at this time but we must remember that faith without works is dead.
I thank you in anticipation of your swift action in keeping Lagos Safe .
Engr Adedeji Doherty
People’s Democratic Party
Lagos State Chapter*