REMARKS BY HMIC, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED ON PTF COVID-19 ADVOCACY FOR COVID-19 ON 1ST APRIL, 2020

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REMARKS BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION & CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED ON PTFCOVID19 ADVOCACY FOR COVID-19 ON 1ST APRIL, 2020 AT THE CONFERENCE HALL OF THE OSGF

With no vaccine or drug yet for COVID-19, the only option today is Non Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPI), which includes social distancing, self-isolation (if exposed in any way), contact tracing and staying at home.

The PTF is employing public advocacy via massive public enlightenment to get this information to Nigerians, in all the nooks and crannies of
the country, and get their buy-in

With the NCDC developing content for the advocacy, the Task Force is doing a lot to get life-saving messages to Nigerians.

1) Radio jingles, produced by the NCDC with support from the UNCDC, USAID and Dettol in Pidgin, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and TV jingles in
English are being broadcast on some radio
stations in the six states of the South West while the TV jingles are being broadcast on NTA, Channels and TVC.

We are upscaling that to ensure the jingles are carried by radio stations in all the states and the FCT and in many indigenous languages.

2) Radio is one of the most powerful platforms to reach the grassroots. The Task Force is keenly aware of this, hence it has deployed the entire radio stations on the stable of Radio Nigeria to
commence the broadcast of the jingles across the country. The Network Service of Radio Nigeria is currently running the English version of the jingle on prime time.

3) Short Messages on preventive measures were developed for broadcast as bulk SMS on the networks of Telecom service providers as a way of
reaching out to millions of their subscribers.

4) Efforts have been made to harmonize all the messages going out from different sources to guard against sending out contradictory
messages. Due to the synergy, all the social media handles of the State House and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture are
currently sending out similar messages.

5) As a follow-up to the broadcast of Mr. President on Covid-19, short messages were developed from the speech, highlighting the facts about the lockdown. The messages were disseminated on the social media to further enlighten the public on why they should comply with the lockdown and what is also required of them during the lockdown.

6) Similar messages were developed on ‘what self-isolation means’, ‘who are to self-isolate’ and ‘procedures for self-isolation’. All the messages are being disseminated via the Social Media.

7) We are also tracking and refuting fake news and misinformation.
Examples include the fake news that the Federal Government will pay N30,000 to all Nigerians with verified BVN, as well as the report on
some false remedies and cures.

We have also debunked a newspaper report that some 26 Americans who flew into Nigeria recently were not screened before being allowed in.

8 ) Also, when a mob burnt down a police station in Kusada Local Government Area in Katsina State because the police prevented the people from congregating for the Friday prayers, as well as the
massive demonstration by an Islamic group in Jos due to the ban on large gathering, we contacted the Katsina and Plateau State Governments and provided them with some jingles, which are being aired repeatedly on the states’ radio stations to further create awareness on social distancing and the need to avoid large gatherings

9) More volunteers are also been deployed to the call centers and are being trained to take calls and provide basic information and direction to callers. The Frequently Asked Questions of the NCDC has
been updated in order to assist the call centre operators to provide basic information.

10). Of course, this daily Press Conference of the PTF is being covered live by NTA, FRCN, TVC and many other TV stations, while the print and social media are also adequately providing coverage for the press conferences.

11) The NCDC is also finalizing the template for massive grassroots and community mobilisation that will take cognizance of social distancing. In order words, instead of bringing people together in one place to enlighten them, might it not be better to use other means to reach them in their communities without having them congregate in a
place?

We will leverage on the existing network of the National Orientation Agency, UNICEF, Health Education, Red Cross and Yar’adua Centre to
commerce massive community engagement using mainly outdoor methods.

12) Media appearances by members of the PTF: On both radio and television, members of the Task Force are making the rounds to further
keep Nigerians informed. I have personally appeared on several of such programmes, including on the NTA and FRCN. I also know that the DG of NCDC has been on Channels and Arise, among others. And this will be a
continuous exercise.