The leadership of Abia Online Media Practitioners, an umbrella body of OMPAN, has enjoined Abians to adhere strictly to government directives of staying at home as the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rages on.
In a press statement issued in Umuahia, the Abia State capital jointly signed by the Chairman, Comrade Ugochukwu Nwankwo and Secretary of the organisation, Izuchukwu Nwokoma, Abia Online Media Practitioners, reminded Abians that the only way to stay safe amid the scourge, was by carrying out government directives of sitting at home, noting that the lockdown is in the interest of the state and Abians in general.
In the release, Abia Online Media Practitioners also made case for the provision of palliative measures for members, contending that in view of the enormous and onerous task of keeping the public abreast of developments, there is need to provide palliatives and safety kits in tandem with what obtains in other countries of the world.
The organisation stated that since members are not afraid of going about in the discharge of their duties while other citizens stay at home amid the COVID-19 scourge, all efforts should be made by the State government to protect and compliment the sacrificial roles played by members.
Abia Online Media Practitioners pointed out that information is power, and he who boasts of it controls some certain situations around him, stressing that in order to furnish the citizenry with adequate and verified stories on the COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for members to explore all avenues and go all out to get the news for the public to digest.
Furthermore, the group noted that as a result of the total lockdown of Abia which takes effect today Wednesday, April 1, 2020, members will be saddled with the responsibility of informing the public on progress made by countries, World Health Organisation and donor agencies in containing the pandemic as well as breakthroughs made in getting a cure for COVID-19.
While regular hand washing, use of alcohol based sanitisers, use of disposable hand gloves, nose masks among other measures have been prescribed by the WHO, the Abia Online Media Practitioners, stressed the need for there to be a sustained media campaign to enable people imbibe the culture of washing of hands regularly, among other measures.
In view of the gravity and threat posed by the COVID-19, and the need to have accurate and unbiased reportage of the scourge, the Abia Online Media Practitioners, maintained that it has become pertinent to provide safety kits and palliatives to members to assist them in doing their work with relative ease.
In the statement, the Chairman, Comrade Nwankwo, commended the Abia State government for the measures they have taking so far in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus to the state just as it hailed the lockdown while urging them to make sure that all salaries owed workers are paid them to enable them take care of their basic needs.
Comrade Nwankwo reminded members that the responsibility they have been bestowed on is a sacred one, warning members about false publications which will throw the people into unnecessary panic, pointing out that verified and accurate report will assist in dousing the already tensed situation.
The group also urged Abians to stay safe by washing their hands regularly, sanitizing their hands with alcohol based sanitizers, wearing of nose masks, disposable hand gloves, maintaining social distance and above all keep their surroundings clean.
Comrade Ugochukwu Nwankwo (Chairman)