EId-Al-Adha: FCTA tightens surveillance at recreational parks
By Hudu Yakubu, Abuja
As Muslim Ummah continues with the celebration of this year’s Sallah, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has tightened its surveillance at recreational parks within Abuja, to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols, insisting the action was justifiable as a measure to prevent the spread of the 3rd wave.
The Head, Media and Publicity of FCT Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 Enforcement, Ikharo Attah who monitored compliance yesterday at the Abuja Millennium Park, said the administration won’t lose its guard on the control of the ravaging virus, just to please residents who wants to catch fun.
Attah noted that while the residents, especially the celebrating Muslims have the rights to enjoy the holiday with full recreational compliment, the administration has the responsibility to maintain a healthy environment.
He said that while compliance with the COVID-19 protocols was appreciable at the city centre, it was a far cry at the satellite towns and most interior areas.
He said, ” from what we saw yesterday at the Mosque during the prayers, there was compliance, particularly at the main city Mosque, we saw few washing points and people using hand sanitisers, in the suburb it may not be the same. In terms of the recreational parks, we have to commend the operators. Although people are hanging around in their large numbers.
” The Unity Fountain is locked, Millennium and Jabi parks are also locked . FCT Commissioner of Police has also helped by ordering Divisional Police Officers to ensure that no parks are opened in their areas.
” FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello has appealed to residents to help in the fight against COVID-19, especially the dreaded 3rd wave. The Minister is ready to open up completely, once we are able to overcome the virus“, Attah said.
However, findings in Abuja on Wednesday, show that the measures taken by locking up recreational parks appeared to be counter-productive.
This was even as fun seekers accuse government of violating the World Health Organisation (WHO) directives, which allow events with large numbers to be conducted in an open air environment.
The residents also accused the administration of double standards. They said that there is no justification for markets, Mosque, churches and other public places to open without serious restrictions, while recreational centres , which events are mainly open air, locked up.
The fun seekers who defiantly besieged the Millennium and Jabi parks with their family members, have also taken over all available spaces, including major roads, where they parked their cars and spread their mats for recreational purposes.
A resident, Erin Inyang who said he is a real Estate developer, and came to the Millennium Park with the hope to catch some interested homes off-takers, said government has once again displayed double standards, by shutting down recreational centres.
Inyang said the same government that was restricting those celebrating Sallah from accessing recreational parks, have allowed markets and even worship places to operate unhindered.