Our security operatives, as part of the essential workers exempted by the Federal Government from the stay-at-home order, have been rising to the occasion of effective guarding in all parts of the country. They have been on the frontline as the pandemic rises both in Nigeria and globally, with the attendant pockets of violence in some areas of the country. They have sustained the integrity of our company-wide security architecture even in the face of some attacks by hoodlums in a few areas. Keeping them safe from Covid 19 is also paramount as they mount guard in all the Hogan Guards locations. To this end, the management has ensured strict round-the-clock compliance with the Federal Government rules on keeping safe.
There is a partial lockdown imposed in Rivers State which makes patrol duty necessary. We have been doing rigorous day and night patrol. It is necessary to commend the Accounts Department for the prompt payment of guards despite the total lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States. While it is important to retain our clients, it is also necessary to get new clients although this has become impossible to do with the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the challenges faced by operatives during this period is the increase in the number of hoodlums and security threats posed by them. We have trained our operatives and continually train them, on the need to be more vigilant, observant and alert at all times.
With the introduction of lockdown in the state by the Governor, there has been a surge in the crime rate in several areas of the state. We have risen up to the task by carrying out regular patrol supervision and we have involved the Nigeria Police Force, in curtailing crime, by requesting their assistance in regular patrol of the facilities we guard in the state. This initiative has deterred hoodlums from coming close to our locations. Guards are regularly retrained on the need for vigilance and alertness. Generally, our locations in the state are cool and calm.
There is partial lockdown in Cross River State, due to the Covid -19 pandemic and this has hindered free movement. The government in its efforts of preventing the spread of the virus has imposed the use of surgical nose mask for persons found in public spaces. We the Hogan Guard operatives have also adhered to this directive and have observed social distancing among ourselves and the few staff that report at some of the facilities we are guarding.
The management of Agip has, since the Covid 19 lockdown started, extended its bus route to as far as Masaka in Nasarawa state, thus making transportation for operatives easy. We have been on high alert, carrying out our duties diligently and still maintaining the rules governing Covid 19 such as regular washing of hands and social distancing. We communicate with locations outside Abuja regularly on phone and all the locations are good. Some of the challenges are that the Covid 19 has led to a hike in the price of foodstuffs and transportation, making the cost of living very high. Operatives have to trek long distances to get food without compromising our surveillance. Armed police officers are at various check points to regulate movement of persons and vehicles. There is absolute peace and order in all our locations right now.
The Ondo State Government imposed a partial lockdown in the state, preventing interstate movement, but there is intra-state movement thus, rigorous patrolling is still happening. The state has recorded some cases of Covid 19 and consequently, the branch head and patrol supervisors in the course of patrol have sensitized all the guards on the virus, protective and preventive measures, as well as the need to immediately report suspected cases of the virus to the NCDC through the various help lines. We have also been trained on the need to be alert during this period, as hoodlums move around to find porous sites for commission of crimes. Due to the spread of the virus, some locations have shut down and asked that guards be withdrawn, pending when it is safe to open, while some have asked for deployment of more guards, as they now work from home and need their offices to be adequately secured.
Consequent upon the lockdown there has been a serious hike in the cost of food and transportation, and this has made it difficult for guards to move around. But we have ensured that our locations are well secured, and it is important to put the minds of our clients at rest, especially those companies whose staff are no longer coming to the office. However, we have been following all guidelines as provided by the government on prevention and guards have been sensitised on proper oral and respiratory hygiene, hand washing, social distancing amongst other things.