As Nigeria Health sector and key stakeholders work assiduously to flatten the Curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cross River State COVID-19 Response Taskforce has continued to deploy a Multi-Sectorial approach to combat the pandemic. In a meeting with Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) and Transport officers, the Honorable Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu called on Road Transport Officers especially the VIO to always take responsibility to protect themselves and other road transport users.

Dr Edu made this known to the Officers during a one day Workshop organized by the State VIO while presenting a Keynote address on the theme; “The Challenges of Motor Vehicle Administration and Enforcement in the Pandemic Era (COVID-19). She noted that Transport Officers are at high risk because of the level of exposure and their activities.

These includes Training of new drivers, driving test, vehicle registration, stop and search for particulars, inspection of vehicles, and other engagements for Taxi drivers as well as Bus drivers who come in contact with several persons during the day making it difficult to trace, dealing with difficult passengers who refuse to follow guidelines, etc. All of these have put Transport Officers at high risk, as such they need to protect themselves.

In her words:-

“Let me start by applauding you all for being on your facemasks always and for the support given to the Taskforce to shut down all the Borders during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.. As a result of your daily interactions and contacts with road users, colleagues and friends, you are always at risk and it is therefore very pertinent for you to always be on your facemasks to avoid infection with Corona Virus. You must use hand sanitizers whenever you inspect vehicles, interface with other transporters or look at peoples car papers, Commercial road users ie Taxi drivers pose one of our greatest challenges in this era because just like you, they also come in contact with many people who they carry as passengers so complying and some just not using their face mask.

“Am therefore using this opportunity to call on us to support the State Government as well as the Health Sector in ensuring that every one including Taxi drivers observes the guideline of No Mask No Movement and no Taxi driver should carry a passenger without a facemask neither should they also be overloaded. When all parties are on their facemasks there is an increase level of safety especially as communication and contact is always applicable during the discharge of your duty.”

Dr Edu ended by charging Road Officers, Commercial drivers and their passengers to always be on their facemasks and use sanitizers on the road often as she called on the VIO to support the ongoing Mobile Court enforce implementation for public safety.

She thanked the Director/State Chief VIO Engr Paul Bepeh, the Honorable Commissioner for Transport Hon. Oqua Edet Oqua and the Head of Service Dr Ita Chris who were part of the Workshop for their tremendous support to the State as well as the transport sector.

The workshop was officially declared open by the Head of Service. As Transport Officers who were very excited pledged to keep to the guidelines. They praised the commitment of the Commissioner for Health and her team noting that she is resilient and focused on achieving results. “We are proud of you” they kept emphasizing!!!

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