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Community media begins campaign against spread of COVID-19 as Lagos mulls another lockdown

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[FILES] Motorists queue in a traffic gridlock as commercial activities return at the end of a five-week COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown in Lagos, on May 4, 2020. – In the metropolis of 20 million, where exuberance and poverty live side by side, relief at being able to earn money once again was almost palpable, despite Nigeria’s mounting COVID-19 coronavirus toll. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

As the Lagos State government moots the idea of another round of lockdown of movement and business activities should residents fail to adhere to the public health guidelines, community media practitioners across Nigeria, under the aegis of their industry group, the Association of Practitioners of Community Media (APCOM) have started a campaign against the expanding community spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rising from their May 2020 monthly meeting, the association members unanimously pledged to intensify the dissemination of COVID-19 information in their respective communities to checkmate its spread. The meeting, held virtually for the first time, enabled majority of members to participate from their remote locations.

President of the association, Dayo Akintobi, encouraged members to hold strong through these difficult and uncertain times. He stated that this is a particularly challenging time for community media practitioners because the responsibility falls squarely on their shoulders to keep the wider public informed on all developments relating to the pandemic, especially now that the virus is spreading through communities at the grassroots.

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Members agreed that the community spread of the coronavirus puts even greater pressure on them to sustain the tempo of their enlightenment of the masses about the preventive measures put in place by the government.

To enable its members to continue carrying out their duty of providing timely and accurate information to the populace, the association called on the government to come up with ways of cushioning the effect of the pandemic on community media houses, including the provision of safety kits and stimulus packages.

The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had on Saturday during a maiden briefing after the ease of a five-week lockdown imposed by the Federal Government, said the state would be forced to review terms of easing the lockdown if there was no improvement in the adherence to the guidelines initiated to break the cycle of transmission of the dreaded virus.

Sanwo-Olu said the government’s order restricting the operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, had been defied, directing the police to confiscate any commercial motorcycle seen flouting his directive. The governor also instructed security personnel to strictly enforce the ban on inter-state movement, directing the police to turn back all pedestrians trekking to Lagos from boundary highways.

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