Mistrust over Anambra’s COVID-19 fundraising
Travelers circumvent border closure to enter Anambra through Delta, Enugu
By Anayo Okoli, Chidi Nkwopara, Vincent Ujumadu, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Dennis Agbo, Praise Njoku & Ugochukwu Alaribe
Workers and guests at the Fancy Hotel situated at Umuguma in Owerri, Imo State, owned by Chief Chrisogonus Aguwa Osuagwu, the alleged second person to die of COVID-19, are still quarantined at the hotel.
The late Osuagwu was said to have visited the hotel as well as his village in Mbaise when he returned from Europe.
An unconfirmed report put the number being quarantined at about 15 persons.
Security operatives have cordoned off the hotel and mounted 24-hour surveillance.
The workers and guests of the Imo hotel were said to be under strict instructions from the government not to allow anybody enter or exit from the place until the mandatory 14 days.
Our reporter, who visited the area yesterday observed a top politician who visited the hotel late evening with intention to lodge there but was refused entry by security operatives on duty.
However, impressed with their work, he distributed some of the COVID-19 preventive kits such as mouth mask and sanitisers to the security personnel on duty.
But a resident of the area said many people around do not know why the security operatives are stationed at the hotel, saying that some thought top people are lodged there. But he noted that the hotel used to be a bubbling place.
He also said for a few days after rumour filtered out on why the hotel is being guided, people living in the area are now cautious and afraid, praying that the workers and guests under quarantine do not contract the disease.
“Because the residents of the area did not know what has been going on in the hotel, there was no sign of panic or fear within the environment.”
It will be recalled that the CEO of the Hotel, Chief Christogonus Aguwa Osuagwu died at Abuja few days after he left the Hotel in Owerri.
It was alleged that three hospitals rejected Chief Osuagwu when he went there for treatment.
He was alleged to have been taken to other hospitals on Saturday night where he was also rejected when he mentioned that he came back from Germany and was hospitalised in a hospital in Mbaise his hometown.
The CEO of one of the hospitals confirmed that late Aguwa failed to inform them that he was rejected in other hospitals, but was quick to inform them that he came from one of the hospitals in Mbaise. He also refused to show them his laboratory test result.
It was also learned that both the doctor, the nurse, and those that attended to the Owerri hotel owner have been quarantined.
Vanguard learned that late Aguwa was the Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Germany and had been sick while there, but came back for burial and on the day of the burial, fell and was taken to a hospital in Mbaise, where he spent about two weeks before going to FMC and was rejected after disclosing that he came back from abroad.
It was gathered that both family members, his relations including members of his community who may have come in contact with him all these period are living in fear.
It was, however, learned that the family members of the Owerri hotel owner in Mbaise have already been quarantined.
IPOB working with 400 doctors to combat COVID-19 in S’East
Also yesterday, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, assembled over four hundred doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lab scientists and other health workers in various states across Biafra land, to coordinate its response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement personally signed by IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, he disclosed that the doctors offered their hospitals and volunteered to work with IPOB to ensure that adequate and proper care is provided to those who may require intensive medical attention during this difficult period of coronavirus spread.
Mazi Kanu said he personally addressed the doctors, pharmacists and nurses and other health professionals who assembled in Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia and Anambra States through conference call.
“Yesterday 31st March, 2020 brave sons and daughters of Biafraland, acting on my directive assembled our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in various states across our land to coordinate our response as a people, to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am particularly grateful to those brave doctors that offered their hospitals and volunteered to work with IPOB to ensure adequate and proper care is provided to those who may require intensive medical attention during this difficult period.
“I was privileged to personally address, via conference call, our doctors and nurses assembled in Anambra State for this great humanitarian task of our generation.
“Going forward, I hope to be able to speak to Akwa Ibom, Delta and Bayelsa States health workers on or before Friday this week. Further details will be provided during our live broadcast tomorrow at 7 pm.”
Mistrust over Anambra’s COVID-19 fundraising
Besides the Owerri hotel incident, what appears to be a mistrust has reared its head in Anambra State following alleged politicisation of fundraising announced by the state government towards the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the launch of the COVID-19 account last week, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah representing Anambra South and Senator Uche Ekwunife representing Anambra Central had, through their aides, begun individual fundraising efforts for the battle against the pandemic.
However, some prominent people in the state were said to be calling the state government to clarify the process for raising the funds to avoid confusion.
Worried by the development, the state government said yesterday that it was not aware that any individual was organising private fundraising to fight coronavirus in the state.
Commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Mr. Don Adinuba said only individuals working with the federal and state governments were genuinely helping to fight the pandemic.
He said: “Since the launch last week of the Anambra State COVID-19 account in the determination to fight the spread of coronavirus in the state, a lot of people from the state and beyond have been calling officials of the state government to complain that they confuse it with the funds drive by a senator in the name of mobilisation of resources from wealthy indigenes to launch a campaign against the highly contagious disease.
“Until these individuals and organisations began to complain about the confusion they face while seeking to contribute funds to the Anambra people, the state government was not aware of the funds drive by any senator. In other words, the state government is not part of the senator’s funds drive. Our people should, therefore, not confuse the two. The senator did not consult us before he started his solo enterprise, nor has he, to this moment, sought to work with the state government. The state government does not sanction his activities.”
Don donates isolation centre, medical equipment, 850 bags of rice to Abia govt
To support the Abia State government to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the Chancellor of Gregory University, Uturu, Prof. Gregory Ibe, has donated an isolation centre, various medical equipment and 850 bags of rice to the state.
Ibe explained that his intervention package is to assuage the harmful social, medical and financial effects of the global scourge in the state.
Pandemic unprecedented— Health worker
The current Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world has been described as “unprecedented in the history of mankind and has also assumed a level never seen before, even in war times.”
An American-based Public Health Consultant, Dr. George Onuoha, who stated this in an interview, also opined that it was common knowledge that the coronavirus pandemic has killed many people in Europe, America and forced the living into self-isolation, in order not to contract the deadly virus.
“Many cities around the world, including the hustling and bustling New York, London, Paris and most countries of the world are on lockdown, as governments try to contain this virulent virus,” Onuoha said.
He equally reasoned that even churches, mosques and other places of worship, have been forced to close with some stubborn and defiant adherents forced out of such places, as was the case in India, in order to bring them to compliance.
Answering a question, Onuoha opined that a lot has been said or written since this pandemic began, about the source, origin and/or the reason for this virus.
“While some regard it as a biological weapon gone wrong or simply laboratory-created, others say it emanated from the 5G network. In the same vein, some religious leaders believe it is God’s anger on the world adrift from it’s Creator and call for humanity to return to God,” Onuoha said.
We need to do more — CUPP
Meantime, the Spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, has called on the federal and state governments, to critically look into the reasons behind the exodus of foreigners from Nigeria.
Ugochinyere was reacting to the reported evacuation of foreign nationals from Nigeria that has only recorded a paltry 131 cases of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic.
The CUPP Spokesperson said: “The United States of America, Israel and other western nations, are carrying their citizens out of Nigeria that has only 131 confirmed coronavirus infected persons back to their home countries that have over 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with thousands of death.”
He wondered if these foreign countries have more credible intelligence reports on the true state of affairs, in the fight against the pandemic, which the ordinary man in the street does not know.
He appealed to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Federal Ministry of Health, to “do more testing, contact tracing and proactive isolation.”
Ugochinyere equally appealed to the federal, state and local governments to explore what he tagged “the South African Option of compulsory door to door testing for all citizens.”
Travellers circumvent border closure to enter Anambra through Delta, Enugu
Following the closure of Anambra State borders as part of measures to control the spread of coronavirus pandemic, many travelers have devised alternative routes to enter the state through Delta and Enugu states.
With the Niger Bridge completely blocked to traffic, many people yesterday engaged the services of fishermen who ferried them from the cable point, Asaba to the Marine area close to Onitsha Correctional Centre.
In the morning when some people discovered the route, there was rush from Asaba when the information went round until some Naval officers suspected what was happening and queried the canoe operators.
One of the people who entered Anambra State through the route told Vanguard that they were charged N500 per person for a trip that lasted about 10 minutes.
According to him, many people were desirous of traveling through the route, but could not summon up courage to enter the canoe because they do not know how to swim.
“Many of us managed to enter Anambra through the cable point yesterday before Naval officers started harassing the canoe operators.
“When some people who wanted to enter Anambra but were trapped in Delta heard that it was possible to cross by canoe, they rushed to the point and paid N500.
“One problem, however, was that those who carried loads were not allowed into the canoes,” he said.
At the Amansea border between Enugu and Anambra states, some people were seen alighting from vehicles at Ugwuoba in Enugu State and then crossed to Anambra on foot.
Once in Anambra State, it was easy to board a shuttle bus to Awka and to other parts of the state.
They found it easy to move into Anambra because the military checkpoint previously located close to bridge linking the two states was recently shifted, making it easy for people to enter the state by foot unmolested.