Taraba confirms 2 more cases of COVID-19•Anambra relaxed lockdown to avoid social unrest —Commissioner
•Anglican Bishop fetes over 1,500 indigents
•Calamity awaits govt agents diverting COVID-19 palliatives—Prophet Chukwuma
•Uzo-Uwani LG intercepts over 15 buses at border areas

By Vincent Ujumadu, Chidi Nkwopara, Peter Okutu, Chinedu Adonu, & Chinenye Ozor

Ebonyi State has recorded its first Covid-19 case. Governor David Umahi stated this in a statement on Sunday evening. He said the patient is a 31-year-old man from Ukawu in Onicha local government area of the state.

He said: “Today 26th of April 2020, unfortunately, I wish to announce that Ebonyi has recorded the first Covid-19 index case.

‘The index case is a 31-year-old man from Ukawu in Onicha local government area.

“He runs a hire transport business with his Sienna vehicle which he uses to carry food items to Ore in Ogun State. Usually after selling this food items, he will use the vehicle to carry passengers back to the Southeast.

“While in Ore, he could not get passengers to bring back to Southeast and he had to wait for sometime in Ore, sleeping in motor parks And filling stations. And when he could not, he started making his way back to Ebonyi State.

“On his way, he saw three Ebonyians that were speaking Ebonyi language. He stopped.They told him that they were going to Ebonyi and were stranded with no money.

“He called their parents and they agreed that he should bring them back and they would pay him when they got back. So, he took the three of them and started coming back. That was on the 15th of April.”

The goverenor said they passed through many states, sleeping in motor parks and filling stations on the way and got to Ebonyi borders on the 20th.

Continuing, he said that they passed through Ivo local government and made their way to Okposi in Ohaozara where they were intercepted by the state anti Covid-19 Task Force and brought to Abakaliki, in line with government policy.

Umahi said that at the Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium holding area where they were kept for some days, a test was conducted on them  and the driver tested positive on Saturday while the three passengers were negative.

He however directed for a second test on the passengers which came  out the same way on Sunday.

The governor said that contact tracing of over 300 persons he might have come in minimal contact with have commenced.

The index  case, he added has been moved to the state’s isolation centre where he is being treated.   “He is very strong and is not showing any symptoms at the moment”, the governor added.

Anambra relaxes lockdown to avoid social unrest– Commissioner

Meantime, Anambra State government  yesterday, defended its decision to relax the lockdown in the state occasioned by the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, explaining that it was to avoid social unrest in the state.

Governor Willie Obiano had in a broadcast, directed the reopening of churches and relaxation of intra –state movement to let in what he described as fresh air in Anambra State. Few hours after the broadcast, normal life returned to the state, with private shops opening for business.

The commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, said, yesterday, that any  government which pursued any policy under the guise of economic efficiency without regard to the social and political implications would only have itself to blame.

He said: “Like every other government, the Anambra State administration is bound to protect its people from the ravages of COVID-19, but it cannot afford to do so by unwittingly allowing millions of its people to die of hunger and starvation or by causing their businesses to collapse through an unmitigated lockdown.

“The 28 days of lockdown, when all markets were shut down, vehicular and human movements restricted, schools closed, traditional religious services suspended, funerals, wedding and title taking ceremonies practically stopped, have already taken enormous toll on the people’s well being. Social unrest must, therefore, be avoided.

“Governor Obiano did the right thing by announcing some policy fine tuning, like the lifting of the restriction on intrastate vehicular movement, but not interstate movement because COVID-19 could be brought into Anambra State again from another part of the country.

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“There was, therefore, no justification for the lockdown to remain without any adjustment. In any case, relaxation of restrictions is the trend worldwide.”

Anglican Bishop fetes over 1,500 indigents

In a related development, over 1,500 indigent families in Ehime Mbano, Obowo and Ihitte Uboma local government areas of Imo State, were weekend, given palliatives to cushion their hardship occasioned by the lockdown.

The benefitting families, which cut across religious and tribal lines, received a 10kg bag of rice and N3,000 cash each.

Speaking at  the event, the Anglican Bishop of Okigwe South Diocese, Rt. Rev. David Onuoha, promised that the Diocese would continue this type of practical evangelism, even after the pandemic.

“We know that everyone is affected in one way or the other by this pestilence but we cannot lose sight of the fact that there are those who are worse hit by the current lockdown imposed by our governments, as a way of containing the spread of this pandemic,” Bishop Onuoha reasoned.

He added: “This is the time to be human. This is the time to show love and compassion. This is the time to show true religion. This is the time to demonstrate practical Christianity. This is the time to see Jesus in our neighbours.

“That we cannot boast of any food item that is produced here in commercial quantity, is very shameful,” Onuoha said.

Vanguard recalls that to ensure full compliance with the social distancing directive of the government, the Bishop passed the gift items through his priests.

Calamity awaits govt agents diverting COVID-19 palliatives, Prophet Chukwuma warns

Similarly, presiding Pastor of Christ Foundation Miracle International Chapel, Prophet Josiah Chukwuma Onuoha, has cautioned handlers of federal government’s COVID- 19 stimulus packages, to desist from shortchanging poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

Prophet Chukwuma, who gave the warning during an interview with journalists at the weekend, pointed out that government officials and agents who indulge in such acts were infesting themselves and their families with terrible curses.

While regretting the alleged scandalous handling of government’s COVID- 19 palliatives including cash and food stuffs, the Prophet added that it was shameful as resources that were earmarked to help the poor and vulnerable would be embezzled, diverted or skewed against certain sections of the country.

“I can tell you that no member of my church and nobody in my neighbourhood has received anything in the name of government palliative.

“They are trying God! But, go and write it down, you cannot shortchange the poor and vulnerable and go free.

“Calamity, incurable diseases and damnation await any government official or agent who directly or indirectly partakes in denying the poor and vulnerable masses in any section of the country their share of COVID- 19 cash or food stimulus packages.

“And woe unto any government that would announce humongous release of cash and other palliatives but ends up dishing out peanuts to the people.

“God will visit those who engage in such acts of evil with something more lethal than COVID- 19, unless they repent and do restitution,” he said.

Uzo-Uwani LG intercepts over 15 buses at border areas

Also, recently, Uzo-Uwani Local Government council in Enugu State, in conjunction with security operatives in the council, have intercepted over 15 vehicles loaded with passengers and goods that attempted entering Enugu State through Igga, Omas and Adani axis of the state. The Chairman of the council, Chukwudi Nnadozie, who personally led a team of operatives to the borders of Kogi and Benue states to intercept the vehicles, said the operation was to enforce the lockdown to contain spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the state.

Nnadozie explained that all the vehicles intercepted at the borders were stopped from entering Enugu State and turned back to their various states, adding that on no account shall the council allow entrance of any vehicle into the state through it’s borders in the council area.

“Following the need to contain the spread of coronavirus disease and prevent the ravaging pandemic, the council intercepted and turned back over 15 buses loaded with passengers and goods that attempted to enter the state through Igga, Omasi and Adani axis of the council area,” he said.

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Don  urges compliance with preventive measures

Also, yesterday, Associate Professor of Mass Communication and Journalism in Delta State University, DELSU, Abraka, Dr. Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri, urged compliance with preventive measures in the fight against the novel COVID-19 in a rap music video.

The song explains the destructive tendencies of the disease, as the lecturer likened COVID-19 to missiles that kill without mercy, adding that the disease is invisible and has no regard for religion, race, age, gender and social class.

Entitled ‘COVID-19: Keep to the Rules’, the song, apart from creating an awareness of the disease, emphasizes the need to practise handwashing, social distancing, staying at home and use of hand sanitisers as measures to keep people safe from the pandemic.

Biri, speaking on why he recorded the song, said: “My message to Deltans is that COVID-19 is real and dangerous. Let us abide by the prescribed preventive measures and support the actions of the state government in this regard.”

Vanguard

 

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