Fellow citizens, it is with a profound sense of responsibility that I address you on an issue that is no longer News, which is the challenge that the World is passing through with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nigeria and indeed Adamawa State is not left out in revving up the attention that is necessary to contain or prevent the spread of the pandemic.
As part of the efforts to control, prevent, and contain the spread, an Isolation Ward, equipped with monitors has already been prepared at the Yola Specialist Hospital, pursuant to my directive.
I am delighted to note that this is the first of its kind in the entire Northern Region, since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
As it is, Adamawa State does not have a single confirmed case, but the preparation of the Isolation Centre, rigorous screening at the Airports, Parks, other entry points and a fast track connection with the National Centre for Disease Control whenever a case is detected, buttresses Government’s readiness to tackle this challenge headlong.
In addition, contact is being maintained with the Personnel of Primary Health Care Development Agencies while Local Government Headquarters are the focal points of transportation of suspected cases, throughout the State.
In furtherance of the overall objective of preventing the spread, the Adamawa State COVID-19 Containment Committee is hereby constituted with the Secretary to the State Government, Mallam Bashiru Ahmad as Chairman and the following as members:
Hon. Commissioner Health Professor Abdullahi Isa
Medical Director, Yola Specialist Hospital
Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre Yola,
Commissioner for Local Government, Environment, Information and strategy, Livestock and Aquaculture Development while the Director Public Health, Ministry of Health will serve as the Secretary.
Its terms of reference include but not limited to coordinating the overall Medico-social response to COVID-19 pandemic paying attention to public sensitization and implementation of containment measures.
The Committee shall be responsible for regular briefings and updates on containment measures.
Fellow citizens, Government realizes that ignorance and lack of information often aggravate cases of serious Public Health crisis like the case at hand. I urge you to pay attention to regular briefings by the State Commissioner for Health, to keep abreast with unfolding developments.
It will also be part of everyone’s Civic responsibility to observe basic protection measures, such as hand washing, use of sanitizers and social distancing and if possible, working from home.
In view of this, Government may eventually consider a work holiday for all categories of staff except those on essential services, such as, cleaners, technical staff in Water Board, Fire Service, Hospitals, Health and Media Personnel. Government has since directed that all Public/Private, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions should close on or before Friday 27th March, 2020, and proceed on a one month recess, subject to review.
Let me hasten to caution that COVID-19 has nothing to do with Politics, Religion, Belief, Culture, Creed or social bounds. Therefore, Government will not shy away from taking every measure that is in the interest of helping the State progress and save lives. Government therefore appeals to religious Leaders to pray for an end to the pandemic and also help in moderating their congregation to a maximum of fifty people, until further notice.
All conventions, Congresses, Seminars and Workshops that will warrant a gathering of more than fifty (50) people at a time, are hereby banned till further notice.
For the avoidance of doubt, all forms of social, religious, and cultural gatherings, that will attract more than fifty (50) people, are also hereby banned.
Here, Government requires the cooperation of religious and Traditional Leaders, towards enlightening the people on the necessity of this measure to securing and protecting the lives of our citizens.
In view of the porous nature of our borders, My Government is making a deliberate and effective contact with the Federal Government to ensure that our borders with neighbouring countries, remain secured.
The global pandemic has seen to the lockdown of many countries across the World and an unprecedented economic meltdown that has affected livelihoods and Public safety. Our State is not an exception and therefore not different.
My Government has therefore agreed on measures to address the prevailing challenges that will affect the discharge of its services.
As result, all Trainings, Workshops, Seminars and Official Trips outside the State, are hereby suspended for the period of three (3) months, subject to review as the situation warrants.
Government also resolved to implement cost saving measures such as a review of the current budget by Twenty percent, coupled with a reduction in Overhead Cost also by fifty percent across board.
To cushion the effect of the alarming economic challenge of COVID-19, Government has agreed on a fifty percent reduction in the cost of House rent, Commercial shops and business premises.
Government is aware of the impact of the economic implication of the current meltdown on informal businesses where majority of citizens are involved and has graciously approved another fifty percent reduction in the taxes affecting this category. However, Government is mindful of the need to shore-up its earnings and will therefore, intensify effort on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in areas where there will be minimal effect on the public wellbeing.
Fellow citizens, we all know that these measures are not going to be easy but they are necessary. Political correctness should not be the criteria for political expedience.
There is no doubt that going by what is happening now, the financial inflow of the State Government has been affected, but while adjusting to the prevailing reality, Government will do its best to implement the agenda it has set out to achieve.
This can only be done with the collective support of each and every citizen.
We most all have the courage and resilience and sacrifice to go through the storm that is gathering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The countries of the World that have overcome the pandemic have not made more sacrifices than we are hereby called to make. Many citizens who have travelled abroad and returned to the Country in the past few days, have made exemplary sacrifices by voluntarily isolating themselves for the mandatory period of Fourteen (14) days.
This is the nature of sacrifice that is required, if we are to collectively overcome this phenomenon.
Finally, I leave you with words of encouragement that as a people of faith no adversity can overwhelm so long as we are determined to confront what fate has brought our way. We should therefore not panic.
I dare say that this will all be history as it shall soon come to pass by the will of Allah.