By Anayo Okoli, Ugochukwu Alaribe, Dennis Agbo, Peter Okutu, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Chinonso Alozie
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has warned food item traders in Biafra land, against inflating the prices of their goods and compounding the problems of the people who have been subjected to sit at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a radio broadcast, Mazi Kanu, told Biafrans that this is not the time to be selfish and parochial, but a time to come together to save as many lives as possible by being their brothers keeper and sharing whatever they have to save lives.
He also told Biafrans that their preparation for eventualities against coronavirus have to be multifaceted, adding that they must adopt a siege mentality against the pandemic virus and see it as one that is threatening their lives and above all, Biafra existence.
“We must, as traders, change our mindset about making money from this situation at the detriment of our brothers and sisters. We should know that we are in a war with both the invisible enemy, coronavirus and the visible enemy, Nigerian government that has refused to provide relief materials and testing centres for Biafrans.
“Hiking prices of food items and materials to fight coronavirus at this critical time does not make any sense. If you do it, you are evil, wicked and such evil money will never be useful to you because it is like blood money, you subjected your brothers and sisters to horrible situation to make the money.
“We must look at each other as an extension of ourselves because if we allow hunger to drive some of our brothers and sisters out to the streets and they contact the pandemic virus, they will bring it home to infect all of us. So, we must extend whatever food and anti-coronavirus kits we have to our sisters and brothers and even our neighbours to avoid bringing home the deadly pandemic virus.”
The IPOB leader alleged that the Federal Government deliberately want Biafrans to die by allegedly refusing to locate a testing centre in Biafran states, just as it refused to extend relief materials to Biafran states.
Mazi Kanu regretted that politicians who will soon come to seek votes from people are no where to be seen now to assist the people with food materials and anti-coronavirus kits to save the life of the people.
“I, therefore, urge my fellow Biafrans to forget about the politicians who have been deceiving them and pretending to care for you when they do not care. This is the time to know that they care, but they are nowhere to be found with food and relief materials.
“I challenge ‘Biafran billionaires’ to use the money they are donating to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which I know will not be used on Biafrans, to provide food and anti-coronavirus kits for our people. They should have used the money to set up testing centres in Biafran land instead of giving it to people and government that wants us dead.”
We disagree with Anambra State’s expenditure — Rights Group
Meanwhile, a human rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Intersociety, has expressed doubt over the amount claimed by the Anambra State government to have spent in its precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The group said the claim was bogus and that such amount was spent in the moon even as they doubt if any of such items claimed were actually on ground.
“It is categorically clear that the N1 billion claimed by the Obiano-led Government of Anambra State to have been spent on ‘proactive’ procurement of coronavirus prevention equipment, was only spent in the moon.
“This is nothing short of a total vindication of over-inflated amount. I can categorically tell you that the N1 billion was not spent on anti-corona virus equipment.
“First, those items mentioned are sold at the Tools & Allied Market and the remainder at its neighbouring Surgical Market of the Onitsha Niger Bridgehead Central Market. I was brought to that Tools & Allied in late 1983 as a teen for apprenticeship and have remained there from the year of my settlement in 1993 till date and I can tell you that no other market sells those equipment in industrial quantity and cheaper anywhere in Anambra or beyond than the Tools & Allied Market. Supply of those items worth N300 million will dry all the items in the market, not to talk of N1 billion.
“Facemasks, for instance, were so scarce in the market and Lagos that it is very difficult to purchase 100 cartons of same today. Packed 2000 pieces in a carton now goes for N92, 000 per carton from N10, 000 to N14, 000 it used to be sold way back in January 2020; all owing to acute scarcity.”
Abia govt to impound vehicles defying ban
In a related development, Abia ‘State government has directed the Traffic and Indiscipline Management Agency, TIMAAS and the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, to impound vehicles who defy the order on the restriction of movement in the state.
Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, who disclosed this in a statement, explained that only individuals and vehicles on essential duties are allowed to ply the roads.
He listed those exempted from the ban to include medical workers, journalists, and those conveying food items, among others.
He said: “Abia State government has directed all security agencies in the state including TIMAAS and FRSC, to impound all tricycles and other commercial vehicles seen on the roads from today to the period of the lockdown and keep same in their custody for a minimum of 7 days.
Only vehicles transporting food items and those exempted from the lockdown are allowed on the road.”
In an interview with journalists while monitoring compliance in Aba, Commissioner for Transport and leader, Abia South Task Force on COVID-19 lockdown, Barr. Ekele Nwaohamuo, lamented that Aba residents did not see the need to comply with the governor’s order.
Nwaohanmuo said his team used the first day of the lockdown as a sensitization, promising to be strict to ensure people stayed at home as directed by the governor.
Follow native method to combat virus, MASSOB tells Igbo
Also, the Movement For the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, called on the people of the Southeast region to take advantage of the herbs in curing the covid-19 ravaging the world.
The MASSOB leader, Uchenna Madu, gave this advice yesterday in Owerri.
According to Madu, the association has observed that both the Federal and state governments were not doing enough to address the challenges posed by the virus.
He said: “The leadership of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) warns the people of Biafra to remain soberer and exhibit extra care over coronavirus disease.
“The speedy rate at which it is rising in Nigeria may trigger more devastative deaths of citizens because both federal and state governments are not doing enough for the protection of their citizens. Nigeria is sitting on a devastative tickling time bomb.
“Our people must be guided by the rules and medical directives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to avoid contacting COVID-19.
The people of Biafra must also apply our native methods of combating and eradicating disease viruses through Igbo traditional medications.
“Though the governors of Igbo land are putting up some preventive measures in combating the dreadful virus in their respective states, MASSOB still believes that more drastic and eloquent efforts must be taken to alleviate the traumatic, economical, health and social sufferings of the people of their respective states.
“We implore our governors to shun party and personal group politics in dealings with the people of their respective states. The current devastative situation does not require party loyalists or praise singers.”
Defiance to lock down obstructs Enugu fumigation — Fire Service Chief
In a similar vein, Enugu State Chief Fire Service Officer, Mr. Okwudiri Ohaa has disclosed that the major hiccup his agency was experiencing in fumigation of the state was residents’ disobedience to the state government’s stay at home order.
The state, on Wednesday, commenced fumigation of designated areas as a means of checkmating spread of Covid-19 pandemic, under the supervision of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who was at the Ogbete main market for the fumigation flag off.
The fire service chief, however, said that the exercise is impeded with residents still conducting businesses and roaming the streets.
Speaking to newsmen on the exercise, Ohaa said that the state government mandated and made fund available to the fire service to embark on fumigation of highly populates areas in the state to prevent not only coronavirus but other infectious diseases but the people are not complying with the lock down order.
Enugu govt inaugurates three isolation, treatment centers
Despite non-compliance in some places, Enugu State government has inaugurated three completed isolation and treatment centers to combat the ravaging Coronavirus disease.
Conducting newsmen round the devoted centres on Wednesday, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi also disclosed that extensive rehabilitation and reconstruction has commenced at the fourth centre sited at former Colliery Hospital Enugu, to expand the state capacity for Coronavirus disease isolation and treatment.
The three centres are located at the Enugu Diagnostic centre, the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital Parklane and the third at Nsukka university town.
Vanguard noted that the state has not had any other confirmed case of the disease since two cases were earlier confirmed in the state.
Ebonyi to prosecute security personnel caught collecting bribe
In Ebonyi State, Governor David Umahi yesterday stated that his administration will henceforth prosecute any security personnel caught collecting bribe at the borders of the state.
The governor who stated this while signing into law, the Ebonyi State CoronaVirus and other Dangerous Related Matters Law 05, 2020 at the new Government House, Abakaliki, wondered why monies will be collected from returnees following the lockdown of the state as anybody found guilty of such inglorious act will be sent to prison.
“This law provides for immediate imprisonment for anybody that collects bribe as a result of the lock down. If we catch anybody we will prosecute the person. immediately. I feel for the returnees.We have to find a way to treat them and feed them.”
Umahi further expressed dismay over the dwindling economic situation posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country and called on leaders of the state to focus their attention on the diversification of the economy instead of relying solely on the dividends of politics.
“Oil have not been sold in this country for the past two months. We are fighting for the survival of the state. Many are depending on politics. It is better we go into agriculture. There so much to do in Ebonyi and I’m appealing to our leaders. We have to re-establish the future of our children. The law ratified all that we have done,” he said.
“Anybody that refuses to be screened will be deemed as a crime.”
“Security personnel should break up any place that continues to hold gathering. Hoarding of foods or essential goods and services within the state is a crime. False information concerning COVID-19 is now a crime.”
The Governor while formally proclaiming the Ebonyi State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulation, 2020, added that the “Purpose of this Regulation is to prevent and contain the spread of Covid-19, Lassa fever, Cholera etc within the State.