COVID-19: Kwara govt meets Muslim leaders, to announce position on Eid Friday

Kwara State Government on Wednesday met with a delegation of the Council of Ulamah (Muslim leaders) in the state, with discussions focusing on the spike in COVID-19 cases, the need for enforcement of rules, and the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha — the Islamic feast in which animals are slaughtered.

The meeting harvested the views of the Ulamah Council under the leadership of the Emir of Ilorin Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari. The Muslim delegation, led by the Imam Imale of Ilorin Sheikh Abdullah AbdulHameed, comprised Chief Imam of Offa Sheikh Muhyideen Husayn; retired Justice Salihu Mohammed; Justice Abdul Mutallib Ahmad Ambali; Prof Badmas Yusuf; Justice Idris Abdullahi Haroon; and Dr Abdulrazaq Amuda.

“The government deeply appreciates the rich contributions of the eminent scholars, their support and appreciation of the government’s efforts, and will on Friday July 24th make a pronouncement on the Eid-ul-Adha prayer after due consultations,” according to a statement by the Spokesman of the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 Rafiu Ajakaye.

The committee, meanwhile, is scheduled to hold various consultative meetings with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), market associations, transport unions, and bankers between Thursday and Friday to strengthen compliance with safety protocols amid rising cases.

The meeting with the Ulamah Council was chaired by Deputy Governor/Chairman of the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 Kayode Alabi. It was attended by Commissioner for Health Dr Raji Razaq; Commissioner for Communication Adenike Afolabi-Oshatimehin; Special Adviser on Political Matters Saadu Salahu; Special Assistant to the Governor on Islamic Affairs Danmaigoro Ibrahim; Director of Public Health Dr Oluwatosin Fakayode; Dr Ghali Mohammed; Prof Shehu Adaramaja; and State Director of the National Orientation Agency Olusegun Adeyemi.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
July 22nd 2020

Don’t go out without face masks, Kwara govt tells residents

· Violators face sanctions from July 31st
· Govt meets Muslim leaders Wednesday ahead Eid-el-Kabir
· Says raids on night clubs, viewing centres, others to continue

Residents of Kwara State must use face mask in public places, keep physical distancing or stay indoors beginning from Friday July 24th, the government announced on Monday, tracing the spike in cases of COVID-19 largely to people not adhering to safety protocols.

The government added that violators of the latest directive — including shop owners and drivers of commercial or private vehicles —risk arrest and prosecution from July 31st under the Kwara State Infectious Diseases Regulations 2020.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Spokesman of the State Technical Committee on COVID-19 Rafiu Ajakaye told a news briefing in Ilorin, the state capital, that the government is disturbed by the rising cases in the state and would spare no effort to flatten the curve and protect the people.

He added that the government would meet with the leadership of the Muslim community on Wednesday July 22nd to discuss the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha — a period of mass gathering and celebration —and agree on the safest way to curb further spread of the virus.

Ajakaye said both Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and his Deputy Kayode Alabi have both undergone test for the virus which came back negative, adding however that a few workers in Government House have tested positive and are being managed at the infectious diseases centre.

The text of the briefing reads:

“As at yesterday Sunday July 19th, we have recorded 585 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Out of this, 367 are active while 204 had since been successfully managed and discharged to rejoin their families. We have also recorded 14 deaths so far.

“While testing of more samples has played a key role in the spike of the figures, the truth is that most of our people are simply not complying with safety measures put in place including physical distancing and the use of face mask despite the earlier mass production and distribution of face masks to members of the public.

“The rising cases represent a grave danger to not just public health but also to public resources and infrastructure which are already being stretched. Whereas the government is doubling up its advocacy across all media platforms, including jingles and radio programmes, the time has come for everyone to take full responsibility and act more responsibly as we confront this pandemic.

“Consequently, effective this Friday 24th July, 2020, nobody would be allowed into any public building, markets, malls, transport, banks and so on without their proper use of the face masks as a safety measure to lessen the transmission of the virus.

“By Friday July 31st, 2020, however, the government would commence strict enforcement of the Kwara State Infectious Diseases Regulations 2020. Thenceforth, anyone seen outside without proper use of the face mask will be arrested, prosecuted in a mobile court, and taken to any of our quarantine centres. Their samples will then be taken and they will be held until their status is known. We want to emphasise that shop owners or business managers, drivers of commercial or private vehicles who allow persons without face masks into their shops or vehicles would be arrested alongside offending passengers and be taken to quarantine centres, have their samples taken and be held until their result is out.

“Similarly, this Wednesday July 22nd, the government will meet with the leadership of the Muslim community in the state under his Eminence the Emir of Ilorin to decide on the safest and best approaches ahead of the Eid-ul-Adha (ileya) which tentatively holds on 31st July, 2020. The outcome of that dialogue shall be made public and enforced accordingly.

“Fellow Kwarans, let us act more responsibly. COVID-19 is real. His Excellency and his deputy have both undergone their own tests. The two of them have tested negative. But a few members of staff of Government House, as you may be aware, have tested positive to the virus. Let us stay safe by abiding by all the safety protocols. The raids the government recently held on a night club in Ilorin will be a routine exercise to stop the flagrant violations of safety measures. Also, government restates that clubs, drinking joints, football viewing centres, and parties with more than 25 persons remain shut.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19
July 20, 2020.

Kwara gets NCDC certification for COVID-19 test

Kwara State has officially been designated a test centre for COVID-19 pandemic by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), according to the chairman of the state’s medical advisory on COVID-19 Dr Femi Oladiji.

Oladiji said in a statement that the NCDC has approved the automated GeneXpert laboratory, which is stationed at the COVID-19/Infectious Diseases Centre Alagbado Ilorin, which is now fully functional. Another COVID-19 molecular and research laboratory is proposed at the Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre which will utilise Reverse transcription and PCR in real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR).

“The GeneXpert machine has been accredited by the NCDC and is now officially functional in Kwara State,” he said.

“A review to assess the diagnostic accuracy of GeneXpert found that when used as an initial test, it had pooled sensitivity of 89% and specificity of 99% compared to sensitivity of 98% and specificity of 99% for RT-qPCR at standard formats. The GeneXpert tests will let us make quicker decisions about whether to quarantine or isolate individuals who show up with or without potential symptoms related to COVID-19. Hospital management staff will also be able to make rapid decisions about the best way to use resources, such as respiratory equipment.

“This is a huge success for the government and people of the state. It is also a huge investment by the government and I must thank the Governor for this feat. With the NCDC certification of this GeneXpert facility, it would go a long way in the fight against this pandemic in the state.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
July 11, 2020.