Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, on Monday faulted the Federal Government’s palliative measures in containing the spread of coronavirus in the state.
Makinde spoke in a telephone interview on a popular radio programme in Ibadan while reacting to the level of preparedness of the state government in tackling the pandemic.
The governor, who had been in isolation for almost two-weeks after testing positive to the virus, also expressed reservations on the volume of medical wares sent to Oyo state in the wake of the viral outbreak.
He said, “Two days ago, in the task force meeting, the Head of Service told me that the Conditional Cash Transfer from the Federal Government would be N20,000 to people in 10 local government areas of Oyo State and I said, it is good but this programme predates this administration and I have never been impressed for one day about the way they identified the poorest and the impact.
“They have been making noise in the newspapers that now they have some items for us. So, I sent the people at the liaison office – first day at the Nigerian Governors’ Forums’ meeting, I was told that those items were taken to liaison offices so I called the liaison office in Abuja and asked, did you receive anything but they said no.
“They told them to come to somewhere in Jabi to collect those items. They brought them yesterday (Sunday). Well, I thank them; it is nothing compared to what we require. Some gloves, personnel protective equipment like 25 overall.
“There seems to be a lot of cheap talks at the top level; so as a state, we really need to take our fate in our hands.
“Take for instance, the 100-bed capacity Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo is open from today (Monday). If we have critical cases that need ventilators, we are able to attend to them there.”
To avert wrong application of relief materials in the state, Governor Makinde said, “We are very deliberate in not directing a total lockdown until palliatives are in place. The major challenge for us is that we need to cut out the middle men and also ensure that those who actually need the palliative are those who get it.
“A lot of well-to-do Oyo State people have risen to the occasion. Government cannot do it alone. No matter how little, what you have given to people, these are helping the government. When eventually we are able to get things going from the government side, it would add to what has already been done.
“I see this as an opportunity for us to ensure that we get to the real people that need those palliatives. The data is already being collated by our people in the field. They started yesterday.
“I can promise the people of Oyo State that it is not going to be business as usual where we show a pile of foodstuff in some warehouse somewhere and it would not get to the people who need it. That will not happen in Oyo State.”
On the efforts being made to curtail the spread of the virus in the state, he said, “Our measures are all work in progress. As I said, we are in an uncharted territory with this pandemic. When we see any need for improvement, we would work on it. But, my appeal to the people of Oyo State is that they must support us.
“We are not perfect; even the developed world are struggling, so they shouldn’t expect 100 percent perfection with us. My aspiration, which I already discussed with the Task Force team, is that we must set a target to test close to 10,000 people in Oyo state. It is ambitious but we will do it. We are setting up to get that done.
“We are doing the planning now, and I have not been told by the experts that this is impossible for us. I think we would stay ahead of the national efforts really. That is the trajectory that we are pushing to get into in Oyo State.
“It is important to follow the advice of Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force on the need for social distancing and hygienic practices such as washing hands regularly and using alcohol-based sanitizer.”