In a bid to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has requested that Governor Godwin Obaseki, should effect a total lockdown of the state.
The monarch also stated that Governor Obaseki should in addition direct the that there should be no movement into and out of the state.
In a letter to the governor, dated April 16, he also called for strict enforcement of the ‘stay-at-home’ order, observance of the social distancing and other health and safety protocols advice given by health experts.
The letter read in part, “Your Excellency, we respectfully wish to invite your attention to the incident of Covid-19,(Coronavirus) pandemic and the attendant risk of its continued spread among the people of Edo State.
“You may wish to recall the stakeholders meeting convened by Your Excellency with traditional rulers at the outset of the outbreak of the virus, where I advised that the Edo State Government should take the issue of containment seriously, to mitigate its spread among citizens and residents of the state.
“However, we have observed with serious concern the rising number of confirmed cases of the Covid-19 in the state, which as at the date of this letter has reached 15 persons with one death recorded.’’
The Oba advised that as efforts to manage the confirmed cases were ongoing, adequate measures should also be taken to design and implement effective contact tracing strategies.
He stressed that this was necessary to forestall a possible second wave of infections, which is imminent due to the possibility of community transmission of the virus.
The traditional ruler called on the governor to adopt modern approaches to the unfortunate situation in the frontline territories in the country.
He expressed confidence that those approaches though difficult were necessary to forestall the spread of the virus for the safety and wellbeing of the people of Edo.
Ewuare said the state government could mitigate the health and economic impact of such steps by making available facemasks and hand sanitisers to residents as preventive and precautionary measures.
He also called for the provision of necessary support in the form of palliatives for the people, especially the vulnerable.
This, the Oba said was one way of cushioning the expected effects of the socio-economic disruptions occasioned by the lockdown.