Over 30 vehicles loaded with passengers coming from the northern part of the country were intercepted by soldiers manning an Army checkpoint in Nsukka, Enugu State as they were trying to enter or pass through the state to other states in the southern part of the country.
Their action was in violation of the COVID-19 lock-down and restriction of movement declared by various states of the federation, including Enugu State, as part of the precautionary measures to contain the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
They were refused entry into the state and escorted back by security personnel to where they were coming from.
Mindful of the need for strict compliance with the restriction order, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had on several occasions, embarked on late night unscheduled supervision of how the land borders are being manned and had strictly warned the security personnel to be firm and never allow anybody enter the state.
Some of the passengers in the intercepted vehicles covered themselves with bags of food items as disguise, as the consignments are among items permitted into the states as essential commodities.
The passengers were mostly from northern parts of the country, according to the security officials on duty.
One of the intercepted passengers, Peter who was coming into the state from Benue State, said they trekked from the land boundary between Enugu and Benue States up to Obollo Afor in Udenu Local Government Area, where they boarded vehicles.
Some of the intercepted vehicles were heading to the north from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and one of the passengers explained that they passed through the Bonny River to cross the Rivers State’s land boundaries to be able to board buses through Enugu State, to their destinations, stressing that they were desirous to return to their native homes and face the inherent challenges occasioned by COVID-19.
The security operatives, who escorted the passengers back warned them and other intending travellers to stay at home and keep away from Enugu State and obey government directives for their own good. They told them it is life first before business.
Following the discovery of two COVID-19 cases in the state, Abia State goverment has urged residents of the state not to panic as it is on top of the situation.
Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, who made the appeal during a radio programme in Umuahia, explained that the state government has put modalities in place to stop the spread of the virus in the state.
He warned against spreading fake information that the two covid -19 cases in Abia are not real and urged residents to maintain social distancing and wash their hands regularly with soap and running water.
In his words; “ The two patients are elderly people between the ages of 70/72 respectively and have no previous travel history in the recent past. People wonder where they might have contacted the virus but I assure Abians that the state government is doing everything possible to trace the origin. “People should maintain social distancing, and wash their hands regularly with soap and running water. Wearing of face mask is now compulsory in Abia State.”
The deputy governor disclosed that the state government has set up a committee to visit the three council areas; Ikwuano, Ukwa West and Umuahia North, where the index cases may have associated with people for contact tracing.
Emphasizing that the lockdown on the state borders is still in force, Oko Chukwu urged the security agencies guarding the borders to resist bribe from motorists and maintain the directive of the state government to check the spread of the pandemic.
In a similar vein, the Federal Polytechnic, Oko has donated COVID 19 preventive materials to its host community, Oko in Orumba North local government area of Anambra State.
The materials, which included 800 pieces of facemasks and 450 bottles of hand sanitisers, were received by the traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Laz Ekwueme.
Speaking during the handover of the items, the Rector of the institution, Dr Francisca Nwafulugo said the gesture was an act of social responsibility to the host community.
The rector, who was represented by the Deputy Rector, Dr Izuchukwu Onu noted that the items were made in the institution.
She said: “We have come to support you in the protection of your community from COVID-19 pandemic because `charity begins at home’.
“Staying protected from the pandemic is best as it has no cure yet.
“The hand sanitiser and facemasks should be used by your subjects as they practice proactive measures for staying safe from the pandemic,” she said.
She commended Anambra State government’s proactive fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the state, but regretted that some people were thwarting the efforts by their non compliance with preventive guidelines.
Receiving the items, the royal father, Igwe Ekwueme, expressed appreciation for the kind gesture by the institution, noting that he was particularly excited that the items were produced by the institution.
He said it was in line with the intention of the establishment of the institution.
While commending the state government’s guidelines to prevent the spread of the pandemic, the royal father urged the people to follow the measures religiously, noting that the fight against COVID-19 is a collective one.
He said: “I observe social distancing, wash hands frequently under running water and use hand sanitisers and facemasks. I do not hold gatherings of more than ten persons.
“Everybody should join hands in the fight against the spread of the pandemic by practising all measures outlined.
“Our governor has done very well. Anambra State has been fantastic. We should thank the state government for a job well done.
“The Federal Government, Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the state government have all been wonderful and I praise them too.”
Also yesterday, a former member of Imo State House of Assembly, Obulimba Innocent Eke, has donated some personal protective equipment, including face masks, detergents, bottles of hand sanitizer, gloves and cash, to Imo journalists.
Speaking during the event, Eke, who also doubles as chairman of the Governing Council, Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, argued that journalists are equally among the professionals at the frontlines in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Ekeh used the opportunity to call on public-spirited individuals, corporate establishments and multinational companies, to “take a closer look at the plight of journalists in Nigeria, with a view to tackling their special needs.
“Since every nation gets the quality of news media they deserve, we should therefore, invest and support media practitioners, especially at a time like this, when the world is battling global Covid-19 pandemic emergency”, Eke said.
Continuing, Eke said: “To properly understand my gesture, I urge you to situate it as drawing attention to the unique and indispensable roles of the journalist and the great loss the people will suffer if journalists renege on their duties, due to inadequate working resources and welfare.”