By Sodiq Yusuf
Some residents of the State of Osun have been flouting the directive of Federal and State governments on the ban of public gatherings and social events to curb the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Investigations by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that despite the ongoing restriction, individuals are still holding weddings, naming ceremonies and other events with total disregard to physical distancing, use of face masks, among other preventive measures.
The practice, which has lingered since the start of the gradual easing of the lockdown earlier imposed by the state government, has continued to rear its ugly head.
As at the last count, the number of confirmed cases of the deadly virus has soared especially in the last one week.
According to the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu, the causative effect of the daily surge is the non-challant attitude of residents and their non-adherence to the safety regulations laid by government and other authorities.
OSUN DEFENDER reporter, who monitored the trend last weekend in Osogbo and environs, observed that residents of the state held ceremonies in low-key at their various homes and enclosed neighbourhoods.
It was gathered that at some of the events, the organizers and attendees flouted physical distancing regulations, failed to use their face masks, did not provide mechanisms for hand washing or hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers as well as other precautionary measures.
Those who spoke to the medium said the decision to resort to holding the social events in enclosed areas was to prevent law enforcement agents from arresting them.
They said: “We cannot further delay these ceremonies. Some of us had hitherto planned our wedding or ceremonies for April and May. Since the lockdown could not permit us to hold it and we needed to get married, we sought to use the easing of the lockdown to do it,” said one of the newly wedded couples.
“We complied with the rules of government not to invite a lot of people. We gave invitation to just 20 people, but when some of them were coming, they came with their friends. We could not have sent them away. We had to accommodate their presence at the event. We ensured things were done within a few hours. But, we cannot tell people not to come and rejoice with us.
“For instance, our own ceremony took place in the confines of our parent’s living room. That is the step we took. During the solemnization, we had only 10 people in the room. All of us used face masks and we maintained an appreciable distance.”
Another resident, who craved anonymity, told OSUN DEFENDER that the inevitability of holding her sister’s funeral necessitated the flouting of the social events ban order.
She noted that while physical distancing, the use of thermometers, sanitisers and other key materials were not taken to, they made available water and soap for handwashing.
“We are aware of the protocols but we had no other option than to breach it. It is a custom in our family to hold funeral parties for the departed. It is a norm that has been complied with for decades. When my sister died, I informed the family of the need for us to follow the COVID-19 protocol. But they refused to listen; saying would we abolish our tradition because of a disease?
“The Elders agreed to do it so I had no other option. For the guests I invited, I told them to use face masks and I provided sanitisers but others could not do likewise.”
The respondent stressed the need for the people to be cautious and ensure they follow the precautionary measures of government and the NCDC to rid the state of the deadly virus.