The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, on Wednesday, announced that schools would resume on August 10 in the state for final year students in Senior Secondary School 3 private and public schools.
Fayemi also said religious centres would be reopened on August 14.
The Governor announced this in a statewide broadcast today.
In the address titled, Lessons from my COVID-19 Infection’, Fayemi expressed concern over an increase in the rate of infection in the last one month in the state with 109 fresh cases.
The governor said COVID-19 protocols would be strictly adhered to as schools open with only SSS 3 students on August 10 and religious centres from August 14, while resumption date for JSS 3 students and Primary 6 pupils would be communicated later.
Text of the State Address on COVID-19 Response (8)
By His Excellency,
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON
Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria on Updates on the COVID-19 Ekiti State Response
Ado-Ekiti – Wednesday, August 05, 2020.
OPENING &GENERAL UPDATE
1. Ekiti kete, it is my delight to address you, yet again on the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Let me first and foremost thank you for your prayers, solidarity, calls, messages and goodwill during the period of my isolation and treatment for COVID-19. I thank God that I am now certified free of the virus after 10 days of isolation and treatment during which I took two separate tests which eventually came back negative. I deeply appreciate your concerns and prayers during this trying time.
2. The fact I could contract the virus in spite of the conscious effort to protect myself and people around me underscores my consistent warnings that we should never take things for granted. It also proves that indeed the virus is real and here, and that, it is a respecter of no persons. That is why I have always maintained that we cannot be vigilant enough until we have collectively come to the end of this pandemic. I therefore implore you, dear compatriots, to take extra measures to ensure that you keep yourself safe.
3. The second lesson to learn from my experience is that the virus is not a death sentence. The key weapon is early detection (through testing), isolation and treatment. From our experience, we have successfully treated and discharged about 67 cases in Ekiti today while we still have about 83 active cases. So far, we have, regrettably, recorded two deaths which occurred because the two cases were brought in when the situation had gone beyond control. You would also notice that we have recorded more cases since last month when I addressed you.
4. At the beginning of July, Ekiti had 43 cases, 28 treated and discharged while 13 were active. As at today, Ekiti has recorded 152 cases in all. This indicates that we have recorded about 109 new cases since last month, which represents about 254% increase in cases. The explanation for this is twofold. First, we are testing more – now that we have our laboratory. Two, we are exposed to many more cases because of our proximity to neighbouring states with high incidence of positivity. The critical point to take is that we have to do more to reduce the rate of infection, even as we remain the lowest infected in the south west and one of the lowest in the country.
SCHOOL REOPENING TO SSS3 STUDENTS
5. Ekiti kete, I noted in my last speech that we were working on the possibility of reopening our schools for our children to return to school. I am glad to inform you that our schools are now open for the Senior Secondary School (SSS3) students who are expected to resume by next week Monday, August 10, 2020, while their teachers are already in school preparatory to their resumption. You would recall that even though we were desirous of opening the school to our children, we also had an obligation to work in tandem with the federal government and other states since the students are writing the same West African Examination Council’s SSSCE along with other students across the West African sub-region.
6. On our part, Government has fumigated all the public schools and work is ongoing to clear the bushes so as to ensure the environment is clean and conducive. In line with the COVID-19 protocols for school reopening, government is supplying the schools with a water dispensing system each, for hand washing. Government is also supplying the schools with adequate hand-sanitizers and infrared thermometers.
7. It must however be noted that parents are to provide their children with at least two facemasks each which is a precondition for admittance into the school premises. As from tomorrow, training of some teachers who have been selected as focal persons on how to handle basic health issues cases will commence.
8. Furthermore, we have constituted a team to visit the schools to ensure that everything enumerated in the protocols is strictly adhered to. Accordingly, every school will be given a certificate of readiness after inspection before they can reopen. In addition, we have also mobilised security personnel and a committee of Parents’ Teachers’ Association to enforce the protocols and ensure there are no lapses whatsoever, as we want to ensure the lives of our children and teachers are not in any way, at risk.
9. In addition, I have directed that random samples of some of the students and teachers who are resuming should be taken for a test, so as to be able to assess our risk level. This is part of our effort to ensure we do not have a spike after resumption.
10. I want to thank the Association of Private School owners for their cooperation. Government appreciates the enormity of their losses since the pandemic started, especially in revenue. I am aware the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources is working with them on the fumigation of their schools.
11. I like to further clarify that only SSS3 students who are starting their final WAEC papers are to return to school next week, ahead of the commencement of the examination on August 17, 2020. Other examinations such as National Examination Council, (NECO), National Business & Technical Examination Board (NABTEB)’s examination will commence after WAEC examination in October.
12. Similarly, Junior Secondary School (JSS3) and primary six pupils are not resuming now, arrangements are being made for their resumption very soon. Their resumption will be duly communicated at the appropriate time.
REOPENING OF RELIGIOUS CENTERS
13. In my last broadcast, I stated that efforts were in top gear to ensure our religious houses were opened for our people to worship. While we consider reopening of religious centres necessary, we also appreciate the fact that closed places with mass gathering are major sources of the spread of the virus. This was the reason we jointly agreed with the religious leaders on the need to establish a protocol that would ensure that the health of worshipers is not jeopardised and that we don’t have a situation that could get us overwhelmed.
14. Even though the religious houses were allowed to open since last month July 17, 2020, because many of them could not meet up with the requirements for immediate reopening, they sought extension till August 14, 2020. The taskforce leadership has told me that many of the religious worship centres are now ready and should be able to reopen for service according to the established protocols from August 14, 2020.
15. I want to thank God for this development and also express my appreciation to the leadership of the Muslim and the Christian faithful in the State for their resilience and understanding. I still want to appeal to them, that, as moral agents and institutions reputed for discipline, they must ensure the jointly-agreed protocols are adhered to, to protect the lives of worshippers as they go about their activities as from August 14, 2020. The key aspects of the protocols include but not limited to the following: fumigation of the worship centres and their surroundings, maintenance of social distancing of six-feet apart, provision of infrared thermometer, provision of water for hand washing, provision of hand sanitizer and ensuring the windows and doors are wide open. The protocols also indicate that there should be no multiple services, and services must be concluded within two hours while children below 12 years of age and elderly people above 65 are not allowed to attend services or Sallat until further notice. An attendance register must be provided by each worship centre to record attendance.
16. For avoidance of doubt, only Friday Jumat for Muslims, Saturday Sabbath for Adventists and Sunday Services for other Christian denominations are allowed. Weekly and vigil services are not to hold in the meantime. Similarly, all traditional worships or festivals that demand large gathering of devotees are suspended until further consideration.
17. In our effort to decongest the big markets within Ado-Ekiti, I am happy to report that expansion work at Awedele and Agric-Olope Markets, has progressed significantly. Affected traders are therefore advised to contact the relevant authorities to facilitate their relocation immediately.
18. It is important that Government should still pay attention to the vulnerable members of the society. Although, we have continued to provide food palliatives over the past two months on a sectoral basis, we have now decided to embark on another comprehensive distribution of palliatives in the 16 LGAs and this is planned to cover a sizeable proportion of our vulnerable households. I must express immense gratitude to our partners in CACOVID as well as National Emergency Management Agencies (NEMA) for their support in this regard.
19. Ekiti kete, let me use this opportunity to thank our workers, especially the medical personnel and other frontline workers for their dedication to duty. They deserve our commendation for staying the course in this very challenging time. I particularly want to commend the leadership of the Joint Associations and Unions of Ekiti State Health Care Workers which had earlier embarked on a strike for their understanding and suspension of the strike.
20. Two days ago, the leadership of the organised labour comprising Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiation Council also embarked on a warning strike which they immediately called off after engaging with Government. I like to assure my comrades that Government is committed to their demands, much of which are legitimate and ought to have been met but for the apparent lack of resources to meet them.
21. I always feel sad whenever I have to sit down to listen to workers complain about outstanding pay for work already done and for which they should have been paid. For instance, I am pained in my heart that people who got promoted since about five years ago have not enjoyed the corresponding financial benefits. These are things which give me great pain and which I am absolutely committed to assuaging.
22. I want to however passionately appeal to my comrades that it is not in my character to deny people of their deserved benefits, Government is however currently incapacitated by the very debilitating state of the economy of the country and the resources of our dear State. Ekiti receipts from the Federation Account has averaged N3billion in the last six months with a monthly wage bill of N2.8bilion.
23. Apart from the fact that our monthly federally received allocation has plummeted considerably because of low crude prices and off take, our internally generated revenue has gone worse as many businesses that should pay taxes are themselves under different government supports to stay afloat. In spite of this, the major goal of governments from federal down the ladder is to do everything possible to mitigate job losses by all means. That is why governments have kept faith with paying workers even when most have remained at home for about five months now because of the pandemic.
24. In fact, you would recall we were at the point of issuing letters of appointment to those who were successful during the last recruitment process when this pandemic came. I was also about signing an agreement on the implementation of the consequential adjustment for the other cadres of the civil service having hitherto effected payment of the minimum wage to the primarily affected cadres, when the pandemic struck.
25. I therefore like to assure you dear comrades across cadres and congresses that I am irrevocably committed to all the agreements reached with government. As soon as we are out of this challenging time, Government will be in a position to look at all pending issues. Once again, I want to thank you deeply for the patriotic consideration in your decision to call off the strike before it took off. Let us all maintain the balance in the interest of our state.
26. I should also want to appeal to the doctors under the auspices of National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) who are presently on strike to end the strike in the interest of our poor citizens whom we are here to serve. We can always collect arrears of unpaid allowances, but a life lost cannot be reversed. That is why I should like to call on the doctors to take the patriotic route like other health workers and the organised labour for an immediate end to the needless strike. I do not want to be put in a situation where I have to invoke the “no work, no pay in Ekiti.
27. As I end this broadcast, I like to extend my condolences to the families of our many icons whom we lost in the course of this pandemic, such as Late Chief Ayo Fasanmi, our revered father, the patriarch of progressive politics in Ekiti state and one of the last of the veterans politicians from the first republic, whose remains were laid to rest in his home town of Iye-Ekiti, yesterday. He was a true leader who would be remembered for his selfless service to Ekiti and humanity in general.
Equally, we lost Pa S.K. Babalola, another leading light of the progressive family, who we lost to the cold hands of death in July and Sir Remi Omotoso who was buried a couple of weeks ago. May their souls rest in peace.
GENERAL APPEAL & CONCLUSION
28. Ekiti kete, for us who are still alive, I appeal to Ekiti kete to continue to obey the restrictions on large gatherings and other regulations. This is very important to stem the community spread that has manifested in our random tests across the state. The increased cases we recorded signifies that many people had been infected but were asymptomatic and are now just been discovered through our aggressive testing. We must not live under the illusion of invincibility or false security. We must always remain vigilant.
29. Finally, I thank the COVID-19 Taskforce team for their excellent job and many appreciations to our donors and those who have provided support in several ways. May we be alive to see the end of this pandemic.
Thank you all and stay safe.
Alale Ekiti a gbe a oo.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON
August 05, 2020