The Minister of the Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has called on government at all levels, as well as individuals, to come out to take advantage of the untapped prospects in the masks making business.
The Minister, who spoke at Thursday’s edition of the daily media briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in Abuja, said the business is worth more than N50 billion and holds the key to making Nigeria COVID-19 free.
Noting that experts had advised that Nigerian local fabrics were good enough to sew masks and that such materials were in abundance everywhere in the country, he charged people of means and local authorities to organise people with skills across localities and fund them to commence mass production of masks.
“If our population is 200 million, let’s say half of that population is active, semi adult to full adult, it should be more than that, but let’s even say half, 100 million. Let’s now assume that the cost, I don’t know, I’m just assuming, let’s assume that the cost of local production of this guard is N500, that business alone of mass production will generate a N50 billion business.
“If that is so, I want to recommend this, let individuals that can mobilise seamstresses in their respective areas to produce this thing. Let chairmen of local government areas, let councillors, let officials of government and those with means support this with mass producing, support local producers, seamstresses, ladies women who can do this.
“We have been told by experts that our ordinary textiles can go a long way in producing this mask and service the purpose of preventing the droplets of the virus from attacking us.
“So I’m by this appealing to all of us that have the capacity, to organise seamstresses in our respective communities, to come around to support the containment of this virus by mobilising those with capacity to produce masks with our cloths that we can use and I’m quite hopeful that with this, in no distant future, Nigeria will be a safe haven and a no-go-area for Coronavirus”, Aregbesola said.
The Minister also charged governments of Lagos, Ogun and fifteen other states hosting Nigeria’s borders with her neighbours to be vigilant so as to prevent illegal migrants from entering the country as a measure of preventing influx of Coronavirus carriers into the country.
He said the border states in the country have a lot of roles to play in the fight against Coronavirus so as not the reverse efforts and gains made in the war.
“Let me seize this opportunity to admonish Nigerians that are living in our border communities in the states sharing borders with our west and Central African neighbours and these states are Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Niger, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Cross River and Akwa-Ibom. These are the states resenting Nigeria from our neighbours in the west to the north and east.
“I am seizing this opportunity to admonish them to promptly report any illegal entry of anybody across our borders and alert the officers and men of the Nigerian Immigration Service.
“It is in our collective interest to prevent opportunistic entry of COVID-19 into Nigeria by any means. We as a people and a nation have sacrificed a lot of our time, energy, resources and wealth as a people and as a nation that is ready to take the maximum of gains that we are making in the containment of this virus by being alert to any movement at all across our borders by anybody except our own citizens who even as well must report to officers and men of the Nigerian Immigration Service.
“These gains come at a very high price, it’s taking tolls on our economy, it’s taken tolls on our spiritual lives, it’s taking tolls on our social lives. So, we must therefore not take it for granted. We must support the government to keep our borders secured against the virus”, he said.