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UNFPA sensitises Ebonyi transport workers on COVID-19 protocol, gender violence

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By Ruth Oginyi

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with the Civil Resources Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Nigeria has kickstarted on sensitisation for transport workers on COVID-19 safety protocol, tackling gender-based violence and female genital mutilation in Ebonyi state.

The transport workers included Okada riders, tricycle operators, and commercial bus drivers. The programme, according to organisers, was aimed at letting the transport workers know their role in enforcing appropriate behaviour in preventing coronavirus from spreading from the transporters to passengers.

Onyinye Okaah executive secretary CIRDDOC Nigeria, Enugu in her remarks said that they decided to move into the remote part of Ebonyi state to sensitise the dwellers having observed that the virus is spreading to the rural part of the state.

The week-long sensitisation took place in Nkaliki Unuhu, Nkaliki-Echara, Abakaliki local government, and Agalagu Ishieke communities, in Ebonyi local government of the state on Thursday.

Okaah noted that most of the transporters did not believe there is COVID-19 “for us CIRDDOC and UNFPA, COVID-19 spread through drivers, passengers so we decided to sensitise them to raise awareness because if you can convince them to believe that it exists and also sensitise them on COVID-19 protocols to be able to protect themselves and also protect others with that the spread will be managed.

“Our main message to transport workers is to stick to COVID-19 protocols, washing of hands, wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing so that the spread of COVID-19 will be mitigated,” she said.

Bar. Virginia Nweze, UNFPA desk officer state ministry of women affairs maintained that coronavirus was more deadly than other diseases such as HIV and appealed to the transport workers to protect themselves from the virus which is now in its second phase.

A resource person, Mrs. Joy Eze, warned the transporter to avoid sharing face masks. She enjoined leaders of Okada, Keke, and motorists to form a task force on the implementation of the use of masks while driving and regular washing of hands among the passengers and transport workers.

A participant, Chief Oko Eze, commended CIRDDOC for coming to the hinterland, pointing out that it was good training and they were going to take the message to other motorists in the state.

Mr. Christian Nwibo, on his part, said there were complicating issues about COVID-19 from the government which made some people not to believe that the virus was real. “We lack trust in the reality of COVID-19 due to how the government handled the virus at the beginning but I believe this training will make our people change their perception “.

On early marriage, the participants attributed it to the adolescent stage in life when young girls lose control and get pregnant that leads to early marriage. “And if you try to advise the girl, she will not know that it is for her good.”

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