A number of states, including Edo, Osun, Bauchi, Oyo, Zamfara and Cross River have expressed frustration at the poor compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols by their people.
According to the Punch, the various state governments said this had led to the increased number of COVID-19 cases recorded by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
This was as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, received their first COVID-19 vaccine shots on Saturday in Abuja.
Dr Cyprian Ngon of the National Hospital Abuja had become the first Nigerian to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria on Friday.
Nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Abuja on March 2. The shipment was said to be the third and largest delivery to be made by the global COVAX initiative, which was created to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have fair access to doses.
In Edo State, the COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr Andrew Obi, while speaking with journalists in Benin City, the state capital, said it was discouraging that residents were refusing to comply with the government’s directive to tackle infection spread.
“It is quite discouraging that while the government steps up measures to protect residents against this deadly virus, some recalcitrant members of society have disregarded these orders, thereby endangering the lives of others,” Obi said.
He appealed to the people to complement the state government’s efforts at curbing the community spread of the virus by complying with the government’s COVID-19 protocols.
“We call on all residents to adhere to the compulsory use of face masks and other precautionary measures against the spread of the coronavirus as the government alone cannot win this battle,” he said.
In a similar vein, the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Saturday decried poor compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols, urging the people of the state to adhere to them.
Oyetola said this at the special prayer session to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his late mother, Alhaja Wulaimot Oyetola, held at the deceased’s residence at Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area of the state.
“I am using this occasion to appeal to our people to take COVID-19 protocols more seriously than before and stop insinuating that the virus has been eliminated.
“As we can see and hear, the second wave is deadlier, hence the need for all to adhere strictly to all the safety protocols and guidelines,” he said.
The governor described his late mother as a woman of virtue and an epitome of womanhood, adding that he was what he was today because of his parents’ teachings.
Also, in Bauchi State, the Chairman of the state Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Rilwan Mohammed, expressed worry about the people’s refusal to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
He advised that people should not see the availability of vaccines as a reason to defy the protocols.
Mohammed, who is also the Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, said, “I don’t know why people are refusing to adhere to the protocols even with the fact that we are currently having a second wave of the pandemic.
“Children are already being infected in the second wave. The people should take COVID-19 seriously because it is still deadly.
“People should wear their face masks, use hand sanitisers, observe social distancing, among others. It is unfortunate that many people no longer observe the protocols. If you go to the banks and other crowded places, you will see people without face masks.”
Mohammed said even after receiving vaccination, people should still observe the protocols.
In Zamfara State, the Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Yahaya Kanoma, also asked the people to keep observing the safety protocols despite the discovery of vaccines for the disease.
“People should be very careful and should not discard COVID-19 protocols simply because of the vaccines. Even if one is vaccinated, he or she should not abandon the use of face masks as well as keeping social distancing,” he said.
Similarly, the Incident Manager and Coordinator, COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre in Oyo State, Dr Taiwo Ladipo, warned about the danger of failing to comply with the protocols, saying that vaccines “are not an absolute guarantee against the virus.”
He said, “The vaccines do not prevent you from getting the virus. What the vaccine does is just to boost your immunity against getting it.
“The vaccine, therefore, is to reduce the severity of the virus. Despite the provision for the vaccine, people should adhere to the COVID-19 protocols such as hand washing, use of sanitisers, social distancing and the use of face masks. These have to be observed even when you take the vaccine shots.”
Also, the Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, decried poor compliance with COVID-19 protocols, advising the people of the state to keep adhering to the guidelines.
“Nigerians should continue to observe COVID-19 protocols despite the procurement of vaccines as the vaccines do not provide 100 per cent protection.
“The people should continue to use their face masks, hand sanitisers and other non-pharmaceutical interventions until Nigeria attains herd immunity. Even though the vaccine provides immunity, you can still get the virus through the nostril and pass it on to someone else,” she said.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the receipt of vaccines, Edu said the state would spend over N30 million as counterpart funding for the first phase of the vaccine roll-out.
She said, “We should be spending over N30m for the first phase of the rollout, which includes e-training.
“We have built cold stores as part of the funding. We have test-run all our cold chain equipment which are supposed to receive the vaccines, and they are ready to go.”