Thursday, May 7, 2020

Citizens Special Reports On Covid-19 Pandemic: SSA Civic Engagement And Civil Society In Partnership With Delta State Civil Society Community Begins State-wide Advocacy Campaign And Consultative Visit To 25 LGAs In Delta State.



... Visits Ughelli North LG Council Chairman, The Ovie of UghelIi Kingdom Palace, The  Police Area Commander, Quest TV, NBA Ughelli Chapter, Influence Leaders in the locality such as Chief Abraham Ogodo, Barr. Jaro Egbo, other Critical Stakeholders.

... Monitors Citizens and Public Institution's compliance with the COVID - 19 Safety regulations.

By Victor Bieni

UGHELLI -  The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Civic Engagement and Civil Society, Activist Rex Anighoro in partnership with the Delta State Civil Society Community led by Deacon Okezi Odugala has begun a COVID - 19 State-wide advocacy campaign and consultative visit on the Local Government Areas of Delta State, flagging off with Ughelli North Local Government Area.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Civic Engagement and Civil Society, the Delta State Civil Society Community leadership alongside some Media Organizations in the State also visited public Institutions and places of citizen's convergence to monitor compliance with safety regulations.

Visiting the Palace of the Ovie of Ughelli, the Delta State Civil Society Community leadership observed appreciable compliance of the COVID - 19 safety regulations at the Palace. Staff, residents, and visitors to the palace were seen washing their hands, using sanitizers, wearing face masks before gaining entrance into the palace, and observing physical distancing with the Palace Guards enforcing.

Visitations to the premises of Zenith Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, and Eco Bank along the Market and Isoko Roads in Ughelli showed that the banks were in complete breach of the safety regulations, with citizens themselves showing defiance and caring less about their personal hygiene and safety.

Citizens were seen overcrowding the gates of the banks and outsmarting each other to enter the bank without observing physical distancing precautions, as the banks appeared to be overwhelmed by the crowd thronging the banks. The banks seem largely understaffed to manage such crowds.

Going further, traders were also seen trading along the road at the Ughelli Main Market Place in total disregard for safety regulations. Some of the traders showed aggression and verbally attacked some Civil Society leaders who politely sought to know why the traders choose to breach Government's safety regulations by not observing physical distancing, nor wearing face masks and trading on a day not approved for them.

However, visitation to Fiesta and E.J Eateries along the East-West Expressway in Ughelli showed that the eateries were fully complying with the safety regulations.

Unfortunately, the Civil Society Community Leaders observed that transport lines were loading vehicles to Benin, Yenagoa, and Lagos at a time interstate lockdown were still been fully enforced.

At the office of the Local Government Council Chairman, the Civil Society Community Leaders observed that reasonable compliance to the safety regulations was been observed at the Council as anyone coming to the Local Government's Council without facemask was not allowed into the premises of the Local Government Council.

Receiving the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Civic Engagement and Civil Society, Activist Rex Anighoro and the Delta State Civil Society Community Leaders, Coach (Chief) Godwin Adode, stated that he has been faced with several challenges in his implementation of the COVID - 19 safety regulations in the Local Government Area.

Amongst other challenges the Chairman stated that he was facing were the deliberate and unreasonable breaches of safety regulations by traders at the markets in the Local Government Area, many of these traders he stated were acting adamantly choosing to trade at the market place especially by roadsides, thus, blocking the roads even on the days not approved for them by Government. The Ughelli North LGA Chairman said the traders obstinately breach physical distancing rules and refuse to put on facemasks.

He Chairman also stated that the overcrowding at the banks leading to the breaching of physical distancing and citizen's deliberate refusal to obey the safety regulations were part of the challenges he was facing in his implementation of COVID - 19 safety regulations in the Local Government Area.

The Chairman also spoke about the two social media trending issues alleging COVID - 19  breaches of safety regulations in the Local Government Area at the Abraham Place Event Center and the Otovwodo Market where he had to personally join with the Police force to compel compliance with the Safety regulations.

The Civil Society Community leaders asked the Chairman of Ughelli North Local Government Council to respond to his alleged molestations and abuse of the Human Rights of the market women and citizens at the Abraham Place trending on Social Media.

The Chairman responded by stating that he has no reason whatsoever to molest, harass, nor breach the human rights of citizens. He stated that the deliberate disobedience of the safety regulations by those market women and citizens was a great threat to the safety of all other citizens in the Local Government Area.

He made it known that all the Local Government Council demands from her citizens is to comply with safety regulations that are for the benefit of all Citizens, he decried the weeping up of sentiments just to discredit good intentions and called on the Delta State Civil Society Community to partner with Ughelli North LGA to help sensitize citizens on the need to take safety regulations more seriously as the Corona virus is not a friend of anyone.

Speaking at the visit on the Chairman, Activist Rex Anighoro praised the Local Government Council Chairman's commitment to fighting the deadly enemy of mankind, the Corona virus, he thanked him for working hard with His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa and urged him to do more in ensuring that Ughelli North Local Government Area is free from the list of Local Government Areas with cases of COVID-19-infected cases.
He called for the improvement of COVID - 19 Citizens Engagement and for a win-win strategy in combating the pandemic the Local Government Area.

At the visit to the Ughelli Police Area Commander, ACP Lawal Shikanfi, the Delta State Civil Society Community leaders raised issues of citizen's concerns, these included alleged Police breaches of Human Rights, Police breaches of Inter-state lockdown enforcements as well as hostile Police interactions with citizens.

The Civil Society leaders noted that they have observed transportation lines boarding passengers to go to Benin City, Yenagoa, and Lagos State, wondering how these were possible without the Police aiding the breaching of the Inter-State Lockdown.

The Area Commander in his response stated that the Police Command was working very hard to address the complaints of citizens and stakeholders, he decried the fact that many elites were aiding and involved in the breaching of the safety regulations as they often use their influence to go against the law and make others do so by their active support.

He called for the partnership with Civil Society in the continuous work of improving Police - Citizens Relationship as well as the enforcement of safety regulations of the State Government.

He called on the Delta State Civil Society Community to also focus on reaching out to the elites who often claim Son of the Soil and deploy their influence towards breaching the safety regulations.

Speaking Activist Rex Anighoro commended the Area Commander for his accessibility, he stated he would work with the Police to promote Police Citizens Improved relationships through civil training programs on human rights, police - citizens civic communication, nonviolence, and leadership education amongst others by the Civil Society Organisations, believing that these will improve Police Citizens relationships.

He also spoke about his office setting up a Citizens Response Network that will help foster better handling of Civil Issues affecting citizens like Landlord-Tenant relationship, Domestic Violence Inter-Faith harmony amongst others.

Activist Rex Anighoro and Delta State Civil Society Community Leaders also visited the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ughelli Branch, Barr. Scott Ayo Okhirhia who received them alongside some of his Executive Members. At this visit Issues of Human Rights, Gender Abuse, Domestic Violence, and the state of certain laws like the quarantine laws were discussed.

The NBA Chairman assured the Senior Special Assistant that a list of Lawyers in the branch who are willing to engage in Pro bono cases on behalf of citizens will be sent to his office as part of the branch forging a strategic partnership with his office for the good of Delta Citizens, especially in Ughelli North Local Government Area.

Continuing, Activist Rex Anighoro and the Civil Society Leaders visited Quest FM and TV Station. At the Quest FM and TV Station, the Station's management through the Head of Operations Mr. Sam Odia took Activist Rex Anighoro and the Civil Society Leaders on a tour of their World Class Facilities and granted a thirty-minute interview on Television and Radio to them as part of the Station's support for the COVID - 19 sensitization and advocacy campaign of the Delta State Civil Society Community.

The Management of Quest TV and Radio Station called for more Government presence and collaboration with the Station in disseminating information to Citizens and expressed willingness to partner with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Civic Engagement and Civil Society. Both parties agreed to work together in establishing a weekly Citizen Parliament Program where Citizens can phone in and have their views and voice heard by Government through the Civic Engagement Office.

Furthermore, on the Advocacy Campaign and Consultative visit, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Civic Engagement and Civil Society Activist Rex Anighoro and the Delta State Civil Society Community leadership visited an Influence Leader, Senior and Eminent Citizen, Chief Abraham Ogodo, the Chairman,
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Abraham Place Event Center who also was a former Editor in Chief of the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper on Fact-Finding mission over the alleged breach of safety regulations at his Event Center by its management currently trending on Social Media.

In a no-holds-barred conversation with the Civil Society Leaders, the Chairman  CEO of the Abraham Place Event Center, Chief Abraham Ogodo stated that he is a front-line COVID -19 safety advocate, making it known that at his age and influence in society he has been a journalist of no mean repute for decades and his only desire is to work for the greater good of humanity and not to breach laws nor regulations that are made to serve the interest of citizens.

He stated that what happened at The Abraham Place was an error of judgment and miscommunication that could have been handled in a more civilized manner.

Chief Abraham Ogodo stated that he was ready to partner with Government to drive COVID - 19 sensitization and citizens awareness campaign whenever necessary. He praised the Government's effort in combating the pandemic but wish that the Government can allow for citizens to share with it more creative ideas that can help the State better in handling the management of COVID - 19 in the State.

The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Civic Engagement and Civil Society, therefore, called on Chief Abraham Ogodo to partner with his office and the Delta State Civil Society Community to embark on a community service engagement.

Consequently, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Civic Engagement and the Chairman CEO Abraham Place Event Center agreed to hold a COVID - 19 Citizens Interactive Engagement on Sunday 10th of May, 2020.

The visit rounded off with an evening visit to Olorogun (Barr.) Jaro Egbo, a very prominent opposition party leader, in the Local Government Area.

Olorogun (Barr.) Jaro Egbo who was the Ughelli North Constituency 2 House of Assembly Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and was declared the winner of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) until the court decided otherwise, commended His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa's efforts so far in combating the COVID - 19 Pandemic in the State, noting, however, that a lot still needed to be done.

Olorogun Egbo further stated that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has also shown clearly that he was tolerant of opposition views as he has never at any time displayed hostility towards dissenting views no matter how vicious they were.

He called for more concern and focus on health workers. He wondered why the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should ever be an issue of concern to health workers. He expressed concern over the kind of incentives the health workers were getting, noting that health workers are the front line Soldiers in combating the global war against the global pandemic.

Olorogun Barr. Egbo commended the
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Civic Engagement and Civil Society Activist Rex Anighoro for the uncommon initiative of visiting him irrespective of the political divide. He said that visiting opposition party members and having constructive exchanges was a right step in the right direction.

Olorogun Jaro Egbo made it clear that the combat against COVID - 19 must never degenerate to needless partisanship nor politics as Corona Virus knows no APC nor PDP.

" Corona Virus is an enemy of humanity therefore all men of goodwill must collaborate for the good of our State", he stated.

He commended the Delta State Civil Society Community for their unity of purpose and their great work to humanity promising to support their work in the State.

Concluding, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Civic Engagement and Civil Society stated that His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa believes in Delta first and does not have enemies to fight. He made it clear that His Excellency, the Governor will continually work for the good of all Deltans, ensuring that their voices are heard and that their opinion counts in the forward movement towards achieving a Stronger Delta.

No comments:

Post a Comment