Mr. Charles Aniagwu, Delta Information Commissioner.
Delta Government today Tuesday, April 21, 2020, disclosed that it would make the use of face mask compulsory for residents in the state as part of measures to check the spread of COVID-19.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, made this known after the state’s Executive Council meeting held virtually and presided by the Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa.
To give effect to the decision on the face mask, Aniagwu said that the governor would send an Executive Bill to the House of Assembly for a law on it.
He explained that the decision to make the use of face mask compulsory for citizens while in public places was based on the fact that to a large extent, face mask had helped to reduce the spread of the virus, the causative agent of COVID-19.
Aniagwu, who was with the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, during the briefing, added that far-reaching decisions were also taken toward further cushioning the effects of COVID-19 on the state’s economy.
According to him, activities of Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR) was also reviewed to ensure that government’s income is recovered without inflicting further pains on the people.
“During the Exco meeting presided by our governor, we also resolved that all protocols must be observed in the process of awarding contracts or procurements to ensure transparency and for our people to always get value for their money.
“We are concerned about the lives of our people and a decision to send a Bill to the House of Assembly to make it compulsory for everyone to wear a face mask before appearing in the public was taken.
“The decision to lock down the state was reviewed and we expressed satisfaction that the proactive lockdown of the state had paid off as it has ensured that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state remained at four.
“We have taken a lot of samples for test and so far, the results that we have received came out negative; it is unfortunate that we lost one person and we are grateful to God that the three cases that we have are doing well.
“Once their results come out negative twice, they will return to their families.
“By next week, government will provide face masks free to the people; officials of the National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) have praised the state government for the level of preparedness for the COVID-19.
“But, in spite of the proactive steps taken, we are not praying for people to come to the centres notwithstanding the high level of facilities at the centres,” he said.
The commissioner also explained the views of the state government as it concerned the distribution of food items, noting that the distribution was effective as it got to most vulnerable people in the society.
He said that the items were distributed by carefully selected individuals, who identified the vulnerable people living in the communities.
Aniagwu also stated that the council commended individuals and corporate organisations that made donations to the state, adding that names of such individuals and organisations would be publicly acknowledged.
“There is no way government can feed everybody; it is impossible, but we know ourselves; if you have, give to your neighbour.
“As a government, we do know that times are hard and we took steps to reach out to the 270 wards in the state and also reached out to the vulnerable groups.
“The results we are getting from the 270 wards are encouraging because government made it clear that anyone who engages in sharp practices during the distribution of the food will have himself to blame.
“We brought in eminent persons who are highly placed in religious circles, prominent women in the communities, top-ranking civil servants in the communities, councillors representing the wards and community youth leaders (not political youth leaders) to be members of the committees to distribute the food.
“It has nothing to do with politics and members of the committees are people who reside in those communities.
“COVID-19 is real and our people must not take it as a joke,” he said.