Ibaji youths take campaign against COVID-19 to rural communities

By Tony Edike on 19/04/2020

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COIY President,  Jerry Nwuchola addressing Inémé natives during the sensitization tour
COIY President, Jerry Nwuchola addressing Inémé natives during the sensitization tour

• Extend palliatives to us, Rural dwellers tell FG

The Coterie of Ibaji Youths, COIY, an umbrella organization for all youths in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State, has carried out rigorous sensitization campaigns in the rural communities on the standard preventive measures against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

The sensitization tour, which took the team to several communities in the local government, is part of the Non-Governmental Organization’s commitment towards ensuring peace, progress and wellbeing of the people of the council.

The communities visited include Ejule Ojebe, Odogwu, Unale, Odolu,  Enweli and Ayeke. Others were Ekanyi, Affah, Orogwu, Ujeh, Uchuchu, Ayah, Iteh, Iyaño and Inémé. 

President of COIY, Mr. Jerry Nwuchola, who led the team on the awareness/sensitization exercise that lasted for two weeks, said the rural dwellers many of who were not aware of the standard preventive measures to curtail the spread of the pandemic, were well trained and sensitized to maintain healthy habits.

He said: “During the tour we demonstrated before the rural dwellers how to effectively wash their hands with soap and running water as well as how to identify the symptoms, maintain social distancing and ensure personal hygiene.

“The rural dwellers were excited that the organization (COIY) took the pains to sensitize the people at the hinterland on the need to prevent the spread of the deadly Corona virus and we are glad that their doubts and fears on the preventive measures were addressed.

“The sensitization campaign was very necessary as the communities have no access to television, internet and radio. The few that have access to the aforementioned lack comprehensive knowledge of the prevention and symptoms of Covid-19.”  

Speaking further on the team’s observation during the tour of the rural settlements, the COIY President pointed out that “those living in the cities are now returning to their communities because of the lockdown in the urban areas, a development that exposes the rural dwellers to the danger of contacting the virus as such returnees were not tested and did not know their status.”

“The people highlighted the economic challenges they area facing at the moment saying their sons and daughters in the cities and overseas who they depend on for survival no longer extend support to them due to the lockdown and the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer  programme did not cover all that need the help.” 

Nwuchola, however, called on the World Health Organization, WHO, International communities and the federal government to initiate a grassroots awareness campaign program on Covid-19 in order to prevent community spread, as according to him, many rural dwellers are ignorant of the safety and preventive measures adopted by the government.

“The rural dwellers/settlers depend on the urban communities for survival and with the lockdown of some states, there is serious shortage of supply of basic needs imposing difficulties on families especially the children who are becoming malnourished and sick without drugs in the community-based health centres,” the COIY leader lamented.

Chief Abune Egwuche, a  community leader in Ekanyi, Analo Ward, who spoke during the sensitization tour to the area at the weekend,  urged the state and federal government to remember the rural communities in the COVID-19 support programme.

He said that many families whose wards reside in the cities and overseas had been apprehensive on their safety lamenting that the welfare support they usually get from them had been suspended due to the lockdown ordered by the government.

His words: “We are very grateful for your decision to come down here to educate our people on the current challenges which have kept us in fear.  Every day we call our sons and daughters living in Lagos, Abuja and other places to ascertain if they are safe and we are praying that the plague should not come near them.

“At home here we are confused as to how the virus can be prevented but what gives us much concern is the influx of traders from neighbouring Anambra and Enugu States to buy rice here. We don’t know how safe it is to accept money from them as we are not sure if the virus can be transmitted through currencies and we don’t even know if such traders are free from the pandemic.

“We commend COIY for the decision to come down to us here in the villages to enlighten us on the preventive measures and we shall educate others on what to do at this time.  But what concerns us most now is the directive that we should stay indoors without government providing palliatives. Please help us plead with the government to come to our aid.”

Posted 19/04/2020 7:20:39 PM


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