by Badejo Oluwaseun
Lagos State Governor, Babajide-Sanwo-Olu, has ordered civil servants in the state to stay away from work for two weeks.
Sanwo-Olu, who gave the order during a live press conference on Sunday, said the order applies to civil servants on grade level 1 to 12. This order, he however said, does not apply to workers on essential duties. “We are shutting down almost 70 percent of our workforce from Monday, 23rd of March 2020. We are shutting down levels 1-12 in our public service for the next 14 days. We know the enormity of the task at hand and we are ready for it. We are working with market leaders and even public transport unions to ensure social distancing. Self-Isolate for at least 14 days if you are just returning to Nigeria. That would be the right thing to do. We must always rise to our challenges. We will win with the cooperation of Lagos residents. We have done this before, we will do it again.”
The Governor, who expressed worry over the increasing rate of confirmed cases in the state at a press conference held in Lagos House Marina, urged the private sector to bench their non –essential services staff to effectively tackle the pandemic disease. He said it had become necessary for him to address the residents again because of the confirmation of an additional six cases within 72 hours he briefed on the disease bringing the total in Lagos State to nineteen confirmed cases. “First let me say that these confirmations are evidence the system is working, that we are actively and met tracking and testing suspected cases. Let me also reiterate that all confirmed cases have been isolated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba’’
Sanwo-Olu added that the state government had been working closely with the Federal Government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The World Health Organization (WHO) and the private sector to halt the spread of this disease. The Governor who hailed Lagosians for obeying his directive on a large congregation of people above 50, said the state government would arrest anyone or group found to be frustrating government’s efforts. Sanwo-Olu pointed out that the directive was not meant to deprive anybody of his or her freedom, saying, many mosques were closed on Friday and many churches shut down. In addition to all the previous directives issued so far,” I am now hereby directing all public officers in the entire unified public service from Grade Levels 1 to 12 which constitutes 70 percent of the entire public service workforce to stay at home from Monday 23 of March 2020 for 14 days in the first instance. We will review this as time goes on. Members of the public are advised to refrain from visiting public offices and to transact as much business as is possible through the telephone and online channels. This stay-at-home order does not affect medical personnel, Fire Service, LASEMA, LAWMA, and other first responders and essential services. We are working to ramp up our capacity to take on new cases as they’re confirmed; other Health facilities will on due time be deployed to support the Mainland Infectious Diseases Hospital.’’
The governor added that the state government would set up more facilities in Yaba to contain a likely upsurge in Coronavirus cases, saying more health workers were being trained and retired health personnel were also being put on notice that they may be recalled to serve in these trying times.