By Polycarp Auta
Jos, Dec. 23, 2020 The Plateau Government has banned all cultural festivals during Christmas and New Year celebrations, as part of measures to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
Gov. Simon Lalong announced this at the end of a stakeholders meeting on security and COVID-19 held on Wednesday in Jos.
The governor was represented at the meeting by Prof. Danladi Atu, the Secretary to the State Government, and Coordinator of the State Task force on COVID-19.
Lalong said the decision to ban cultural festivals was to ensure strict compliance with the safety protocols, particularly the social distancing.
He also urged worship centres to comply with the social distancing directives of 50 persons per gathering.
“All public gatherings including places of worship should cut down attendance to 50 per cent of their capacity.
“All cultural festivals are banned and use of face masks will be enforced in all public places, while social distancing, hand washing and other protocols are adhered to.
“All recreational centres are hereby closed until further notice,” he said.
The governor said government would enhance COVID-19 testing at the local government areas, adding that sensitisation against stigmatisation of those infected or suspected to have the disease would be enhanced as well.
On security, Lalong alleged that security reports available to the government indicated that some criminal elements are planning attacks on some communities in the state during the festivities.
“We called this meeting to foster a more community-driven response to intelligence and surveillance so as to assist security agencies with useful information to enable them to respond to any threat of attack by criminals.
“Government is working with the security agencies to be more proactive rather than reactive.
“We have strengthened Operation Rainbow, our own security outfit to ensure that it compliments the efforts of the security agencies,”he said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders meeting was attended by Local Government Chairmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders and health experts.