Undoubtedly the National Orientation Agency (NOA) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria mainly with the purpose of communicating its policy, promoting patriotism and development of society in the country.
NOA’s motto on its website says, “Do the right thing; transform Nigeria.”
Up to this very moment, the agency has not been found wanting in its given assignments before the advent of the coronavirus in the country.
Good a thing, in Imo State the director of NOA is one of the committee members on the prevention of the dreaded pandemic, educating the people on how and what to do to prevent the scourge.
Ordinarily, the NOA is known for its mobilisation of the people and telling them what is required of them in a situation like this, but since the crowd is an anathema for the COVID-19, radio has been handy so far in spreading the warnings. But this is not enough. More concerted efforts are needed to go round the people.
With the loosening of the lockdown more enlightenment could be done through market unions, associations, women groups, age grades, town criers, among others. These will help to narrow the education to the levels of the people on the dangers of clustering and the need to use masks, hand washing and even recognizing the symptoms of the virus which include coughing, runny nose, etc and even how to handle these problems among others.
It is unfortunate that most of these traders and artisans know next to nothing about the COVID-19 and its spread. The little they do know are from rumours to them, especially because nobody has really sat them down or come to them to give thorough explanations.
The Church could also help in this direction.
The recent broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari that the lockdown should relax just only after one month in the country should not be abused or taken to mean that the virus has been eliminated in our midst. It is part of the consideration to give controlled ventilation to the people. So circumspection is still necessary to curtail the spread by all and sundry.
China the index country relaxed its lockdown after about three months when after three consecutive days it stopped recording an increase in the rise. But Nigeria’s figure on the pandemic keeps going up.
As at Tuesday, April 28, 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reported 40 deaths, among 1,332 confirmed cases from the COVID-19.
More than ever, aggressive enlightenment is required on regular basis to remind the people that more efforts are still needed to avoid the pandemic.
The Edge Express, like other most concerned Nigerians, pray and hopefully believe that the relaxing of the lockdown will not open the floodgate for the coronavirus to spread like a wild fire after much sacrifice and efforts have been put in place to checkmate it.
The paper is really worried over the silence of the Maurice Iwu-led Committee on the index case at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri.
It is really serious that after the much-touted six centres for possible confirmed cases around the state, the very first victim who voluntarily walked to the hospital and was tested positive is not in any of the centres but still at the FMC. This is bad enough.