The Ekiti State Government on Saturday directed traditional rulers in towns and villages to either postpone or cancel, for the rest of the year, all pending local festivals in their domains to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
The State Coordinator of COVID-19 Task Force Response Team, Bolaji Aluko, made the announcement in a statement in Ado Ekiti.
He disclosed that Ekiti State has cumulatively recorded 78 positive Coronavirus cases, with 29 active, 2 deaths, and 47 discharged, warning that the cases can rise dramatically if public assemblies continued unchecked.
Mr Aluko, a professor, said as the state was gradually entering the full-blown season of Traditional Festival, therefore, travels from within Ekiti State and various parts of Nigeria by indigenes and visitors to the various towns and villages during this period of the pandemic, have started to occur.
According to him, the attendant incidents of virus transmission in these crowded and boisterous situations, where social distancing is practically impossible, and mask wearing, which is also required, may be impractical for prolonged times.
“Consequently, the wise course is to seriously discourage these festivals at this time.
“In fact, they are effectively banned by current government guidelines requiring social distancing and limited-number assemblies.
“Therefore, we are appealing to all Obas, Council Chairmen, Councillors and community leaders for the cancellation of the public celebration of all upcoming festivals and cessation of ongoing ones in all part of Ekiti until further notice.
“These festivals should be observed in the quietness of homes. Some Obas have already been commendably proactive and announced cancellation for the rest of the calendar year,” he said.
The State COVID-19 Coordinator, informed that government order against crowded assemblies, lack of social distance, and non-wearing of masks would, and must be enforced by the security forces.
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“We ask for your cooperation because Ekiti State currently has cumulatively recorded 78 positive Covid-19 cases, 29 of which are active, with 2 deaths and 47 discharged, but the cases can rise dramatically if public assemblies continue unchecked.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that prominent among traditional festivals to be affected by government’s position are: Annual Egungun, (Masquerade) festival, Ogun, (god of Iron) festival and celebration of Annual Cultural Days, by various towns among others.