The Ogun State Ministry of Environment, under the leadership of its Commissioner, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, has asked business owners to pay N95,000 in order to disinfect their premises against the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in a letter the Ministry of Environment sent to some organisations in the State. The ministry stated that the disinfection became necessary to achieve a well sanitized environment for healthy living.
While the state government has carried out the disinfection exercise in most public places, owners of private properties and organizations have been directed to likewise do the same for their properties, particularly for properties being used for commercial or industrial purposes where members of the public patronize. According to the ministry, accredited fumigators have been deployed to affected properties across Ogun, to ensure uniformity.
The cost implication for each facility include, Service charge – N80,000; and Certification fee – N15,000. It was further stated that facilities and organizations that are ready should pay the charges into a private company account named, Sekbol & Sons Nig. Enterprises with Gateway Mortgage Bank.
The development has generated reactions from residents of Ogun, majority of whom have accused the government of plans to extort private business owners in the name of COVID-19 disinfection but the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, in a swift reaction, disowned the decision of the Ministry of Environment.
Governor Abiodun explained that the information may have been erroneously disseminated to the public by the State Ministry of Environment.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, Governor Abiodun clarified that the main objective of the Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for Workplaces in Ogun is to ensure safe and conducive work environment for workers in both public and private sectors in the state and to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus.
“A key element in the guidelines is the requirement for industry and business premises to regularly decontaminate their work environment.
“In this regard, each company or business owner is at liberty to engage any competent service provider of its choice for fumigation or decontamination, provided that the exercise is done in accordance with the standards that ensure the environment is free of COVID-19 and other pathogens that are inimical to human health and safety.
As a responsible administration, the fumigation or decontamination requirement was a public health focused initiative and never intended as a plank for revenue generation by the government or a preserve of select service providers.
This directive therefore clarifies and indeed supersedes any information that may have been erroneously disseminated to the public by the State Ministry of Environment. For emphasis, there are no government accredited decontamination service providers.