COVID-19: Peace Corps partners Nigerian govt on grassroots sensitization
By Caleb Abah
Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) has indicated its readiness to collaborate with the Federal and States Ministries of Health in Nigeria, to sensitize the people at the grassroots on the dangers of the world endemic Corona Virus, with the view to curbing its spread.
This was made known to newsmen in Abuja, on Friday, by the National Commandant of the Corps, Amb. (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, at a press briefing.
Corona Virus, also known as COVID-19, has affected over 50 Nigerians since the scourge found its way into the country, few weeks ago.
Akoh said the rate at which the virus spreads globally has created an atmosphere of national emergency and as such, deserves concerted efforts at curbing it.
The PCN currently has membership strength of 187,000 youths, comprising of regular members and Volunteers with network of branches in the 36 States of the Federation, including Federal Capital Territory.
Akoh said, “one of the cardinal functions of Peace Corps of Nigeria is to serve as a reservoir and spring-board of man-power for volunteerism and involvement in social and community services in times of needs”, saying the health ministries, relevant agencies, especially, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would be in touch for necessary approval for partnership.
“With the initial orientation imparted on members and Volunteers, during their trainings coupled with the strict discipline which they observed, they are more strategically positioned and equipped as needed manpower to enter into synergy with Government at all levels in terms of providing voluntary and humanitarian services to forestall further escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Akoh added.
His words, “While we commend the Federal and various State Governments for the steps taken so far to curb this menace from further spread, it is thus our patriotic concern and commitment that we wish to register our willingness and readiness to partner with the Federal Government and the various State Government, through the Federal/States Ministries of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the following areas:
“Creating awareness at the grassroots level on the dangers of the dreaded COVID-19 and measures to forestall its spread.
“Deploy members of the Organisation to public places such as markets, motor parks, recreational centres, offices to distribute hand sanitizers, nose masks, etc.
“Distribution of relief materials to be provided by the Federal or State Governments as well as corporate bodies and spirited individuals, should there be a total lockdown”.
The Peace Corps Boss said he had directed all officers at the various State Commands to be on standby and avail their services on voluntary basis, should the need arises for their services to be engaged by either the Federal or the various State Governments.
Meanwhile, Akoh has condemned in totality, the perceived politicization of the spread of the COVID-19 in some quarters within the country, describing it as a “sad” development.
Rather than mocking the victims, Akoh said the current pandemic calls for “sobriety and empathy”, for any individual or group that is infected by the COVID-19.
“A situation whereby people celebrate or express happiness over fellow Nigerians that are infected by the virus is completely un-African and ungodly. The COVID-19 is a pandemic that has no identity, and it is an ailment that no one would wish for him/herself. Therefore, I implore all Nigerians and foreigners alike regardless of social, political and religious affiliations to unite with a view to stop further spread of the virus”, he advised.