*SPEECH BY EMERITUS PROFESSOR OLUGBEMIRO JEGEDE, THE OGUREFA OF OGORI, AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE LEAGUE OF OGORI PROFESSORS TASK TEAM ON CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) AT THE BOARD ROOM OF THE NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA COMMUNITY STUDY CENTRE, OGORI, KOGI STATE ON SATURDAY, 28 MARCH, 2020*

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*SPEECH BY EMERITUS PROFESSOR OLUGBEMIRO JEGEDE, THE OGUREFA OF OGORI, AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE LEAGUE OF OGORI PROFESSORS TASK TEAM ON CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) AT THE BOARD ROOM OF THE NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA COMMUNITY STUDY CENTRE, OGORI, KOGI STATE ON SATURDAY, 28 MARCH, 2020*

TELEPHONE:         +234 803 411 6363
EMAIL Address:   jegedeo@gmail.com
SKYPE Address:   jegedeo

▪︎Our Traditional Rulers and Members of the Ogori Magongo Traditional Council
▪︎Elders of the Ogori Community
▪︎President and Members of the Ogori Descendants Union (ODU)
▪︎Top Management and Senior Officials of the OgoriMagongo Local Government  Area
▪︎Religious Leaders
▪︎Members of the League of Ogori Professors (LOP)
▪︎Members of the League of Ogori Professors Task Team (LOPTT)
▪︎Age groups in the Community
▪︎Ladies and Gentlemen

*Ewe a ro ter’abe*

*Introduction*

The world is facing very difficult and unprecedented times right now because of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic. The virus that causes the COVID-19 disease is called 2019-nCOV or SARS-CoV-2.
It was first reported in Wuhan, China in December, 2019, and was recognised as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March, 2020. As at 6:00am this morning, the world now has a total of 597,301 confirmed cases, 27,363 deaths and about 133,363 recoveries in 201 countries.
Nigeria has not been spared. The first case was reported in Nigeria on 27th February, 2020 and as of today we have 81 confirmed cases and One death.
We are told that the disease has no known cure, as we speak, and the effect on people is catastrophic and can be fatal.  If what is happening in other countries is anything to go by, COVID-19 will spread to every nook and cranny of Nigeria, proliferate in all communities and wreak serious havoc wherever it touches. This has informed the need for us to be concerned about, and to seek, ways to protect our small but beloved Ogori community.
In order to support other efforts that may be on-going or in the offing, the League of Ogori Professors (LOP) on 18th March, 2020 discussed the issue and set up its COVID-19 Task Team on 20th March, 2020 with ten members. Today, is a landmark in the history of Ogori and LOP as we launch the Task Team to guide the community in the efforts to fight the disease.
The LOPTT has the following membership:
▪︎Professor Alexander Odaibo (Ibadan) Head of Team – Virologist/Parasitologist.
▪︎Professor Olu Bolaji, (Ilorin) Deputy Head of Team – Medical Expert.
▪︎Professor Christogonus Daudu (Zaria) – Extension Information Expert.
▪︎Dr Augustine Obaro (UK) – Medical Expert.
▪︎Dr Kemi Sharp (UK) – Medical Expert.
▪︎Colonel (Rtd)  Gboluga Mosugu (Abuja) – Security and Financial Expert.
▪︎Arc. Matthew Onoba (Abuja) – Urban & Community Planner.
▪︎Professor Olorunfemi Jegede (Abuja) – Parasitologist.
▪︎Mr Philip Aturu (Ogori) – Health Care Personnel.
▪︎Mrs  Patricia Mosimabale (Ogori) – Health Care Personnel.
▪︎Other members co-opted by the Task Team as necessary and appropriate.

*Terms of Reference*

1.     Relying on the fundamental principles of epidemiology, suggest and put into action all necessary ways and means of providing information, education and practical guidance on, and how to avoid, being infected by the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Community.
2.     Inform and teach members of the community on how to detect, avoid and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the Community.
3.     Build and strategise on how to deploy and use, response capacities and capabilities to COVID-19 pandemic as applicable to the Ogori Community.
4.     Request; obtain through gifts, donations and allocation from all sources available, critically-needed supplies and inputs including diagnostic kits, viral medication, personal protective equipment and medical needs for distribution within the Community.
5.     Evolve a workable plan for the strict isolation of confirmed cases of detected COVID-19 cases as implementable within the Ogori Community.
6.     Develop a simple LOP Strategic Plan for preparedness and response to future epidemics for the Ogori Community. This should include procedures for relevant action; communication of information; development of manual procedures; collaboration and co-operation with related local, state, national or international public health agencies; the establishment of a Co-ordination Centre including a local reference or testing laboratory located within the Ogori community; and the provision of relevant information, guidance and advice through the publication of an Epidemiological Bulletin.
7.     The need to extend the know-how of LOPTT and related assistance to neighbouring communities as necessary.
8.     Any other matters of concern to be addressed in the interest of the Community as deemed fit by the LOPTT.

*Donations of Pieces of Equipment, Fund and Volunteers*

The Head of the Task Team, Professor Alexander Odaibo, has informed me that the Team has already started working behind the scene well in anticipation of this launching. The Team wishes to embark upon some initial and immediate activities which require a number of pieces of equipment, fund and volunteers.
The pieces of equipment include, but not limited to, the following:
▪︎Face masks, enough to go round Ogori (if possible and practicable) and for visitors arriving through the FOUR major entrances to Ogori.
▪︎Hand Sanitisers for distribution and use in major points of the community (including entry points into Ogori, market squares, offices, churches, mosques).
▪︎Infra-red thermometers – 15 pieces to begin with.
▪︎Gloves, enough to go round as many as require them (especially transporters, market people, Small and medium-sized business people, etc).
▪︎Wash hand soaps
▪︎Plastic containers fitted with taps for water to wash hands at major entrances.
▪︎First aid packages and medication including packets of 500mg Paracetamol for oral use to be dispensed as recommended by the doctors on the LOPTT.
▪︎The LOPTT requires volunteers, especially health care professionals to service the various entrances into Ogori. Please contact the Head of the Task Team (Prof Alexander Odaibo – 0803 835 5267) or any other member of the Team.
▪︎Any other donations you would wish to make to the LOPTT.

*Need for Sacrifice and eschew any and every division*

Although history has recorded many global plagues and pandemics, the COVID-19 pandemic which has come at our own time is unprecedented, debilitating, and extremely impossible to foresee the extent of its impact; it is a very difficult situation which requires difficult measures and response. Sadly, time is not on our side and we must move as quickly as possible instead of wallowing in self-denial as seems to have pervaded many communities in the country. The urgent response calls for tremendous sacrifice from, and by, all of us; and for the sake of the survival of the Ogori Community eschew all divisions, hatred and dissensions within and around the community to enable every hand to be on deck in order to rescue our Community from any possible annihilation.

*Precautions by individuals*

The most common symptoms of coronavirus disease are fever, dry cough, tiredness, sore throat, running nose, nasal congestion, aches, diarrhea and difficulty in breathing. Please seek assistance if most of these persist with you or your neighbour. Older people (age 65 and above) and people with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease are more vulnerable.
The media is daily filled with reminder instructions and advice regarding what we all must do to stop the spread, contain and drive away the disease. While I believe that we all know them, let me again for the avoidance of doubt and for the sake of emphasis repeat the FIVE as follows:
1 Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with water and soap and use alcohol-based sanitiser;
2. Cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow not your palms or into other people’s faces;
3. Do not touch your face because the virus gets into the body through mouth, nose and eyes;
4. Practise social distancing or keep safe distance from people and avoid crowding with more than 10 people; and
5. Stay at home in self isolation.
The last one is the most preferred… *Ororo ama n’iyubowo*

Please while you help yourself to help the Community, please keep Ogori, Nigeria and the world in your prayers.

Thanking you for your co-operation in this most difficult and challenging but necessary LOP project.

Emeritus Professor Olugbemiro Jegede
The Ogurefa of Ogori, and
*Chairman of the League of Ogori Professors (LOP)*

Saturday, 28 March, 2020


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