The Ondo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi on Saturday urged traditional rulers to join hands with government to enlighten the people on how to prevent Lassa Fever in the state.
Ajayi made this appeal at the palace of Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom Oba Victor Kiladejo, shortly after monitoring the compliance of the residents of town to the first monthly environmental sanitation of this year.
Ondo State had been listed among states where cases of Lassa Fever outbreak had been recorded but the state government had deployed adequate equipment and personnel to stem the tide.
The Deputy Governor, who had earlier visited some local governments in the central senatorial district, said due to the closeness of the monarchs to people, they have major roles to play in enlightening the people.
"I have come with a mandate from Governor Oluwarorotimi Akeredolu, SAN, who greets you warmly. The government needs your support to enlighten and make the people aware of the dangers in unhygienic way of life. This way of life is the cause of the deadly Lassa Fever. "We need to let farmers and food sellers know the danger of drying foodstuffs such as garri in the open field or space. Rats get attracted to these places to eat the raw food items and drop their waste there. "We are appealing to the royal fathers to please, use your influence and reach to get across to your people in order to prevent the spread of this Lassa Fever".
He commended residents of Ondo for their total compliance and participation in the environmental sanitation exercise.
"I am highly impressed with the turnout of the people on this day. They have conducted themselves in a manner acceptable to the government. Every where is clean. Ondo residents know the importance of cleanliness"
In his response, Kiladejo promised to use all the four Radio Stations in the town to raise people's awareness on Lassa Fever.
"Aside the conventional media, I will bring the matter up at our weekly meetings comprising myself, the Baale's, olojas, the High Chiefs and the subjects", the monarch said.
The Deputy Governor, who was accompanied by the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan and Chairman Akure South Local Government Area, Mrs Margret Atere also visited Aponmu in Akure South local government where he frowned at the level of their compliance with the exercise.
Ajayi also appealed the residents of Aponmu community to take the issue of hygiene serious, he said:
"Cleanliness is next to godliness. We must take environmental sanitation serious for it is in our best interest to do so. The major cause of Lassa Fever is our way of life, how we prepare our food. Let us improve the way we process our foods. You should not court danger by exposing the food we want to eat or sell in the sun."
This can lead to easy contamination by rats and other mammals. He assured the people that their immediate needs will get government attention.
"The state government will give attention to your road soon. We are going to rehabitate your road and also mandate Akure South Local Government to build the market here for your use".