Having successfully produced and kitted select frontline service providers and various caregivers in the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 pandemic, the Director General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC ) Otunba Segun Runsewe, has disclosed that the next stage of the culture agency focal agenda is to launch a nationwide campaign to encourage nigerians to brace for the use of facemask in public places.
The NCAC boss had last week produced and kitted security agencies, the media and a select group of professionals in the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic with branded facemasks made exclusively from adire and Ankara fabrics, and also gave out sanitizers made from the natural resources sourced locally, in order to promote homegrown efforts to the pandemic and also open certain cultural economy.
Explaining the need and exigency for the #protectnaijafacemask campaign, Otunba Runsewe stated that there are empirical facts that wearing facemask has about 100% capacity to prevent the spread of the micro droplets, usually transmitted through the mouth and sneezing through the nose.
“We at NCAC firmly believe that a population-wide facemask wearing is very important and essential to the suppression and prevention of the communal transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic, hence the frontal awareness efforts by NCAC to prepare and positively change the attitude and minds of nigerians to face masks lifestyle” he stated further.
Drawing key example from the Czech republic which successfully adopted facemask strategy and thereafter, with the consequent low COVID-19 impact in the entire European countries, the NCAC boss who had in the past drove the national campaign to diversify the nigerian economy through tourism, with, “oil is good but tourism better and sustainable” campaign, further disclosed that the nationwide awareness drive on the use of facemasks, will help create a post COVID-19 cultural economy that will see the nigerian women, widows and youths producing facemasks as part of NCAC intervention.
“We are already grounded in providing skill acquisition as part of our cultural mandate and with this campaign in focus, we can through our various offices in the six geopolitical zones empower the rural women and unemployed youths to take to tailoring and produce an average of ten million facemasks in three days, made from local fabrics and according to our standard.
“This campaign is a must do and not talk and no action. This cultural agency of government is on strong footing to deliver on these expectations” Runsewe assured, noting that as much as COVID-19 protocols of social distancing, strict hygiene are important, the desirability and importance of wearing face masks cannot be overemphasized.
“Indeed, the spread of the disease across our nation with a population of 200million people is a bit scary and despite the great intervention of the National Center for Disease control, we must be seen to be culturally supportive through this campaign which also is not in any way the scientific solution to mitigating the scourge, but as a knowledge and awareness based effort from NCAC to empower Nigerians to wake up and live with reality of face masks’ wearing in public places as a new way of life.
On getting a national musical and entertainment response to the #protectnaijawithfacemask campaign, the national and cum pan African cultural influencer, noted that the possibility would be exploited and be given the face of “We are the world” musical extravaganza of the 90s to raise fund and awareness about mitigating poverty in the world.
“You can bet we shall adopt that musical effort but it shall be cultural in content and context and we may request musical and cultural troupes to come up with something unique that will appeal to national unity and consciousness.
“The artistic community shall be part of this campaign and we are definitely looking beyond the COVID-19 situation to the next level of truly responding and creating a new culture entrepreneurs that can challenge our collective national strength for a better cultural economic tomorrow, to project Nigeria to the world as a nation conscious of its richness in culture and with a people with strong resolve to overcome any challenge of life” He explained further.