The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has appealed to Rotary International to help in curtailing the spread of Covid-19 in Nigeria by setting up sample collection centres across the country to increase the number of tests, which is a crucial step in the government’s Trace, Test, Isolate and Treat Strategy.
The Minister made the call in Abuja on Friday when he received the newly-elected Governor of Rotary International’s District 9125, Mrs. Jumoke Bamigboye, and her entourage on a courtesy visit.
“I am using this opportunity to appeal to Rotary to leverage on its community engagement strategy to help in mitigating Covid-19’s community spread in Nigeria. Specifically, the Rotary can help in setting up sample collection centres across the country to increase the number of tests,” he said, adding that the Federal Government has increased the number of laboratories for Covid-19 tests from just 2 to 40 in order to test as many Nigerians as possible.
Alhaji Mohammed said the appeal is coming on the heels of Rotary’s great role in the recent eradication of polio in Nigeria.
“Working through Rotary Nigeria’s PolioPlus Committee, this respected organization helped vaccinators to reach the remote areas of the country to ensure that every child received the polio vaccine. The result is what we have today, a polio-free Nigeria.
”I have no doubt that Rotary can play a similar role in our efforts to combat Covid-19 in Nigeria and rid the country of the virus. Please note that I am making this appeal without prejudice to whatever Rotary may have done so far to support the current efforts against Covid-19 in Nigeria,” he said.
The Minister said the Federal Government, through the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, has continued to battle the pandemic, but noted that the government cannot do it alone, hence the need to partner with the private sector and other humanitarian organizations to flatten the curve of Covid-19.
He congratulated Rotarian Jumoke Bamigboye on her election as the Governor of District 9125, which comprises 23 of the country’s 36 states as well as the Federal Capital Territory, saying it’s a huge responsibility and a mark of great honour to have been elected to preside over such a vast territory.
In her remarks, Rotarian Bamigboye commended the Minister for driving the public sensitization on Covid-19 safety protocols, saying the people are now gradually imbibing and practising the preventive measures to remain safe.
She sought the partnership of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to showcase Nigeria’s colourful cultural heritage to Rotary’s visiting foreign dignitaries as well as to utilize the public information organs to sensitize the public on the National Immunization Days for polio and the upsurge in rape cases in Nigeria.