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Published On: Mon, Jun 22nd, 2020

FCT and the COVID-19 pandemic

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By Jamila Musa, Abuja

We will remember 2020 as a year in the FCT, Abuja,when we were hit like any other nation by a previously unknown and foe,the coviD-19 pandemic. Like the rest of the world,we have paid a heavy price. As of the 15th of may, 2020, many people have lost their lives having tested positive to coviF-19.
Any one of those deaths is a tragedy for family and friends.Children have lost mothers and fathers, parents have lost sons and daughters ,before their time.The Minister of the FCT, Abuja is pained by this tragedy and number of casualties and pays tributes to those who have died and their loved ones who remained.
The Minister of the FCT,being mindful of the fact that Abuja is one of epicentres of the coronavirus crisis because of the nature of the city itself-being the capital city of the nation and of course,the seat of government.put in place a robust,pragmatic and systematic programmes that have effectively checked,the spread of the virus and brought hope to those already infected.
Abuja is an international hub tightly packed with people from all over the country and indeed the world.What makes Abuja unique has also rendered it vulnerable to a pandemic that is ruthless and deadly.
The Minister because of the love of the people made Abuja to be under strict stay at home order, this was not made as a punitive action but because of the need to keep the people safe from this pandemic.The lockdown ordered by the Minister is painful but understandable.Agreed that at the initial period of ordering the stay quarantined order,there was still many unknowned about the virus.
The Minister urgently stepped in to reduce the spread of the virus as hospitals and health care workers were urgently equiped and hospitals space were urgently created and equiped for the quarantining of infected persons.
The FCT Minister did not relent in his efforts to expand hospital capacity,AL adding more hospital beds,budgeting for more ventilators,as the hospitals needs them urgently even for people who are expected to be infected with the virus.The minister was vigilant to the fact that as it is expected at the initial period that as the numbers of cases rise,so also would the death rate.He quickly makes sure that the numbers of city mogues were increased also making sure that in satelite towns refrigerated trucks were provided in front of hospitals to take care of the surge in request for mortuaries.
As the city’su statistics became staggering,the Minister makes sure that the enlightenment department of the ministry was equiped urgently too,so that the residents would have a grasps of the rate of the impending crisis. Abuja has led the nation in the rate of testing as the FCT authorities under the Minister urgently recruited many thousands of adhoc qualified hospital and clinical staffs to help in the testing of residents.This is an example to the rest of authorities all over the country.
The Minister made sure that in Abuja, there was no cause for surprise-this is expected became the creed in Abuja.
The Minister have shown leadership at this time when the spread of the virus took the world by surprise dislocating communities,disrupting social cohesions among the people and above all tasking governments at all level to innovate in finding ways and measures to save the life of its people by keeping them safe.
In the midst of fear,tensions and anxiety, the Minister of the FCT Mallam Musa Bello Mohammed took up the gauntlet in managing the situation and this has been commended by all across political and religious line.The urgent but pragmatic and systematic manner he took up this task which succeeded in lowering the rate of person to person infections and the provision of the needed support infrastructures to help stabilize the situation can be describe as one of the greatest lessons of leadership in an emergent situation.
The administration immediately the virus situation became apparent put in place proactive measures such as the closures of mass gathering places like churches,mosques,cinemas,night clubs,conference centres and sports centres etc. The staggering of markets days in the FCT.also helped in keeping our people safe from the deadly virus.
The urgent composition and constituting of a strong task force to help in the enforcements of the protective measures and achieve the aim of keeping residents safe at this period was a good one by the minister.The task force has not dissappointed as the minister has painstakingly been up and doing monitoring and evaluating its activities and in the process keeping them on their toes.
In addition to this,the Minister embarked on a weekly appraisals of workability of the measures and protocols as rolled out by the world health organizations and the national centre for disease control NCDC,so that he would close any gap which may militate against its implementations in the fct and offering all the needed support to health workers and the security personnel involved in its implentations.
The expert advisory council set up by the Minister to study the day to day impacts of the measures and protocol on ground and to always advice him on its workability while also always advice him on proposed new measures helped and kudos must be given to the minister in believing that he is not a master of all.

Jamila Musa, Abuja

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