•Nnewi youths storm markets to control food prices
•Police Inspector kills man in Abia
•Ebonyi flags off fumigation of markets, public places
•Abia govt threatens to arrest traders for defying lockdown
By Anayo Okoli, Peter Okutu, Chinonso Alozie, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Ugochukwu Alaribe
CHAIRMAN, Task Force on covid-19 in Imo, Professor Maurice Iwu, yesterday said that the Fancy Hotel in Imo State, that was locked down over the Coronavirus pandemic, will be fumigated tomorrow.
Iwu alongside members of his committee, spoke in Owerri, three days after the staff and guests quarantined in the hotel were released. The chairman further stated that his committee for now has put in efforts in the prevention of the virus in the state.
He said: “This is about the second week since we were inaugurated. We have been working everyday. We have been reviewing some of our plans and it is good that we brief you on it. “We tested some people and they have tested negative. Let me tell the health workers that the the governor has been helpful to us even with the shortest period of time.
“80 percent of our efforts is on prevention. If we have a case, it will be reversed. All we are doing now is prevention. What we are doing now is to reach out to the local government areas because we want everybody to be involved in this battle to defeat this virus.”
He pointed out that, “We as a state is not looking at the FG for help now. We are taking records to know those who need immediate palliatives so as to reach them very fast.”
On the release of those quarantined at Fancy hotel in Umuguma, he said: “Those quarantined at Fancy hotel, have been released and when they were going, government gave them transport aid. Even when they were there, the government took care of them. There is a plan to fumigate Fancy Hotel on Wednesday this week.”
Nnewi youths storm markets to control food prices
Angered by the astronomical jacking up of prices of food items by traders, youths in Nnewi, the Nnewi North Local Government Area, Anambra, weekend stormed various markets to control prices of food items.
The youths also carried out enlightenment and sensitisation rally within the four quarters of Nnewi town, namely Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim and Nnewichi. The youths under the aegis of Nnewi Youths Forum, NYF, during the enlightenment rally stormed the markets where they insisted that food stuff dealers must sell at the normal price.
President General of NYF, Mr. Paul Moneke in company of members of his executive council said the youths in the industrial town decided to go out to sensitize the people that the Coronavirus pandemic is real, but not an opportunity for traders to exploit and rip off the people. We have told food stuff dealers that Nnewi Youths will not tolerate any arbitrary hike in the price of food items.The petroleum dealers too have been told to dispense their fuel at the approved pump price of one hundred and twenty five Naira.
“We expect the traders and all the stakeholders concerned to adhere to the directives to sell their goods at the normal market prices to prevent having to contend with the youths on their goods because we will not allow any exploitative tendencies by the traders.”
He noted that it is incumbent on everyone in the town to obey the federal and state government’s directive to prevent the spread. “There is therefore, the need for indigenes and residents to regularly wash their hands with soap, clean water and apply sanitizer accordingly.
“It is imperative to put on face-mask, wear gloves and maintain social distancing directive and as well, stay at home for the stipulated two weeks to stay safe.”
Moneke pointed out that the sensitisation rally got the backing and support of Igwe Dr Kenneth Orizu III and the three Obis of Uruagu-Nnewi, Umudim-Nnewi and Nnewichi-Nnewi.
In his contribution, Mr. Samuel Onweluzo, an architect, commended the youths for their initiative stressing that a stitch in time will always save nine and made a donation to support the youths initiative.
Police Inspector kills man in Abia
In a related development, a Police Inspector who reportedly shot dead a civilian, along Ururuka road, Ogbor Hill, Aba, Abia State, has been arrested by the Police. The policeman, simply identified as Stanley was arrested for shooting one Mr. Chibuisi, while enforcing the lockdown in the area. Stanley was said to have tried to stop a vehicle that allegedly violated the lockdown order and the bullet went off and hit the victim who later died in the hospital while receiving medical attention.
Contacted, Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr. Ene Okon, who confirmed the arrest of the policeman, said the matter has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID. The CP said,”The police as an institution does not take such a thing lightly. That police inspector was arrested immediately and detained. As I’m talking to you, SCID has taken over the matter and the policeman is under investigation for murder.
“We have our rules of engagement, we have our standard of operation and procedure and we have our own Force Order 237 as reviewed. That order has to do with when a police officer has to use his firearm and it will be justified.
“It’s not an excuse for you to say it’s accidental discharge. A trained officer on such assignment should put his rifle on safety. The rifle has safety and once you put it there, it’ll not just release. So, it’s not an excuse that he mistakenly touched the trigger. That’s why we detained him and we are seriously investigating the whole matter.”
Ebonyi flags off fumigation of markets, public places, others
In a related development, Ebonyi State government, weekend flagged off the fumigation of markets, public places, including bus stops in order to curtail the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Flagging off the exercise at the Margret Umahi International Market, Abakaliki, Governor David Umahi reiterated the state government’s commitment towards tackling the scourge against all odds.
Umahi who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe enjoined citizens of the state to comply with all the directives issued by the State Government in its bid to make the state Coronavirus-free.
He said: “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the governor and government of Ebonyi state have taken proactive steps to ensure that the disease is not given a chance in the state.
“What we are flagging off today is one in a series of the proactive steps taken to make sure that the virus do not gain entrance into the state. The governor has invested hugely on this campaign. We encourage other states to emulate what we are doing to ensure that coronavirus is rooted out from the country.
Meanwhile, the governor in a statement signed by the State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr Orji Uchenna Oji directed security personnel to arrest anyone seen outside his her home in Ebonyi without wearing a face mask.
“Security agencies, all sub-committees on COVID-19, Chairmen of Local Government Areas, Coordinators and indeed all government officials are hereby directed to arrest anyone seen outside his/her home anywhere in Ebonyi State without wearing face mask.
“We still request for information on anyone that is showing symptoms of high body temperature (fever), dry cough, and difficulty in breathing and returnees from the infested countries and/ or states of Nigeria. It is to be noted that older people and people with other medical conditions (such as Asthma, diabetes, or heart diseases) may be more vulnerable to Coronavirus.
“Ban on social and religious gatherings is still in force and anyone that defies these regulations shall be arrested and premises acquired by government. The use of sanitizers, washing of hands and steaming twice a day, including frequent intake of hot liquids are highly recommended.
“Government is working hard to compile the names of all those that will need palliatives from the state and those that will benefit from the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer and this will be made known to the public as soon as we are ready.
“We are in contact with our brothers and sisters who came from outside especially areas infested with COVID-19 both within and outside Nigeria and we are monitoring their health conditions on daily basis.
“We direct all the tailors in Ebonyi State to meet the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly; Rt. Honourable Francis Ogbonnia Nwifuru for immediate production of Face Masks.”
Abia govt to arrest traders for defying lockdown
Also yesterday, Abia State government threatened to arrest traders who open their shops during the period of the lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Dr. Cosmas Ndukwe, in a statement, said his ministry is worried that traders have violated government regulations in various rural markets despite the huge risk of exposure to the deadly coronavirus.
He warned that those violating government order are taking risks as security agents have been directed to arrest and prosecute them.
“Markets, irrespective of where they situate or their size have not been exempted from the lock down. You are advised to obey this simple order for your health and others. To be specific, Orie Ugba Umuahia, Amauzukwu Relief Market, Umuahia, Ossah Market Umuahia, Umungasi Market Aba and Afo Ule Market, Abayi Aba are shut with immediate effect.
“Others are Ama Ogbonna Relief Market, Aba; Achi Aru Market Omuma Road, Aba; Onions Market Uratta, Aba; Tonimas/Work Bank Market, Aba; Ehere Market Ogbor Hill and such other markets in various towns and villages should shut down immediately to avoid arrest and prosecution. “
Contacted, chairman, Taskforce on COVID – 19, Chief Ekele Nwaohanmuo, told Vanguard that the state government is determined to enforce the order to shut all public gatherings in the state.
Vanguard also saw Transition Committee Chairman, Obingwa Council, Chief Kingsley Nnaji leading a team to enforce the order to shut the Ehere market.