…Enugu records new case, disharges 2; begins decontamination of court premises, offices, fuel stations
…Group accuses chairman of Muslim community of diversion of palliatives
…1000 indigent widows others benefits from Eze Opi palliatives in Nsukka
…We have not quarantined and doctor, nurse or health worker — NAUTH
By Peter Okutu, Chinenye Ozor & Chinedu Adonu
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State yesterday insisted that Almajirai should go back to their states as Ebonyi will not give them access to the state.
Umahi, who stated this immediately after the State Security Council meeting at the new Government House, Abakaliki, explained that “We will not be afraid to say there were no almajirai in Ebonyi State before now. I commend the northern governors for saying go to your state of origin.
“So, why will the youths that want us to fight take to the social media to start saying almajirai are coming to the southeast and they should be allowed. Is it part of the social distancing? We will not allow that in Ebonyi State.
“Ebonyi will not allow almajirai to come. They should go to their states. This is very important. We have to as a people begin to tell ourselves the truth. I have directed the Chief Security Officer to meet with security people. Please, I don’t want to see any cow within the premises of the centenary city. It is an insult.
“How can we be struggling with cows to come into Government House? Please, I don’t want to see any cow even in the international market and the mall. I don’t want to take it again.
“So, the security people should meet with the people rearing cows, whether Igbo or Hausa cows, because I also see some Igbo cows, but I don’t want to see them again. Any that we see, the Commissioner for Justice should move to court and get order to auction it.
“Those preaching poverty about Ebonyi does not love you. We are doing everything possible to secure the state against poverty and we will never be distracted. This is very important. We have generally pardoned COVID-19 law offenders but anyone caught since that day must be prosecuted.”
Enugu gets new case, disharges 2 patients
Meantime, Enugu State has recorded one new case of positive COVID-19 patient, bringing to 16, the total number of positive cases so far registered by the state.
Again, the new case was imported to the state by a 39-year-old indigene of the state, who lives in Lagos State but returned to Enugu State in violation of the restriction order. He was said to have arrived the state on May 13, 2020.
In a related development, two more patients have tested negative and have been discharged, leaving the state with 8 active cases and 8 discharged cases.
According to the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ikechukwu Obi, the two newly discharged patients were case number 3 and her son, who is case number 10.
On the new positive case, Obi said: “He is a 39-year-old indigene of Enugu State who lives in Lagos State. He made his way to Enugu State in violation of the restriction order and arrived on the 13th of May, 2020.
“On an alert, since he was already ill, he was assessed and tested. The result has returned positive. Consequently, the need to comply with the inter-state movement restriction order and other precautionary measures for the containment of the spread of COVID-19 cannot be overemphasized.
“Enugu State inhabitants are therefore still encouraged to continue to comply with the directives of the federal and Enugu State governments on restriction orders and other precautionary measures in the public health advisory of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the Enugu State Ministry of Health.”
To curb the spread of the virus, the Enugu State branch of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, has directed its members to stop carrying passengers who are not wearing face masks in their buses.
The State Chairman of RTEAN, Chidiebere Aniagu, said the warning has become necessary to protect both the commuters and their members from contracting the contagious disease.
According to Aniagu, “After an online meeting of the state executives committee of RTEAN on the spread of COVID-19 in the country especially now it has entered community transmission stage, we resolved that henceforth, our members should not carry commuters that are not wearing face masks in our buses”, and warned that any of its members that violates the directives would have his bus impounded and handed over to security agencies for prosecution.
Enugu govt commences decontamination of court premises, offices, fuel stations
Also yesterday, the Enugu State Fire Service commenced the decontamination and fumigation of all court premises and offices in the state, starting from the State Judiciary Headquarters complex at the Independence Layout, Enugu.
Briefing newsmen at the State High Court complex, the State Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Okwudiri Ohaa, said the ongoing exercise was directed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in furtherance of his administration’s efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in Enugu State.
Ohaa explained that the first phase of the decontamination will cover the High Courts and Magistrates Courts, while the second phase will be the turn of the Customary Courts.
Noting that the court premises are among the sensitive places that attract influx of people, the Chief Fire Officer recalled that the administration of Governor Ugwuanyi had recently carried out the decontamination exercise in Enugu metropolis and its environs, all major markets in the state, motor parks, hospitals, among other high traffic areas.
Engr. Ohaa who disclosed that the exercise will be repeated in some of the areas, pointed out that “from here (State High Court complex), we will go to filling stations where essential services are also being rendered”.
He added that the exercise will equally be extended to “Nsukka zone and Awgu zone”, stressing that “it is only Enugu State that has been consistent in the decontamination and disinfection of its environs.”
Responding, the Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Mrs. Martha Aroh-Onuoha, on behalf of the Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Priscilla Emehelu, thanked Ugwuanyi for his administration’s sheer commitment to safety, health and wellbeing of the people of the state.
Group accuses chairman of Muslim community of diversion of palliatives
In Ebonyi State, a melo-drama played out in Ebonyi Muslim community over the sharing of Covid-19 palliatives as a group has accused the chairman of Ebonyi State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Engr. Abbass Egwu of diverting palliatives meant for Muslims in the state.
Ebonyi State Coronavirus Committee on palliatives had last Saturday, dolled out palliatives to residents of the state, including the Muslim community but on May 18, the community petitioned the state government alleging that out of the N2 ,000,000 added to the 500 bags of 5kg rice for the Muslims in Ebonyi State, Engr. Abbass only shared 700,000 and pocketed 1.3 milion naira.
In a letter addressed to the State Governor, Engr. David Umahi from Ebonyi State Muslim Community (ESMUCO) tagged “Criminal Diversion of Covid-19 Palliatives Given to the Muslim community/ Hausa Community of Ebonyi State by one Engr. Abbass Egwu” signed by Alhaji Danjuma Gambo, Sarkin, Hausa Community Ebonyi State; Alhaji Salisu Yunusa, Leader, Hausa Community, Ezzamgbo and Alhaji Ibrahim Ogbonnia Amah, of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, the group called on the state government and security operatives to investigate the distribution of the palliatives by Engr. Abbass and the money allegedly diverted.
According to them, the Muslim Pilgrim Board chairman is not the leader of Muslim Community in Ebonyi State.
The letter read: “We wish to state for the record that the said Engr. Abbass Egwu is not the leader of the Ebonyi State Muslim/Hausa Community. He is a government appointee whose tenure in office shall expire in a couple of years, though he has been arrogating to himself the status of the leader of the Ebonyi State Muslim/ Hausa Community which he is not and can never be.
“On this Covid-19 Palliatives, we are aware that the governor approved the sum of #2,000,000 (Two million naira) only and 500 bags of 5kg rice for us. We state that the said impostor called Engr. Abbass Egwu collected the money and bags of rice without our consent and knowledge. He, in the comfort of his home , shared the money and rice .
“In all, he shared N700,000 only and some bags of rice. He greedily pocketed the sum of N1, 300,000 only for himself to satisfy his unquenchable greed. We decry this act of sabotage on the good works of your government as well as robbing us of our legitimate entitlement from your government.”
But reacting on phone, the embattled chairman, Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Engr. Abbass Egwu, denied the allegations against him.
1000 indigent widows, others benefit from palliatives
The paramount traditional chief of Ogbozalla, Opi community in Nsukka local government area, Enugu State, High Chief Willy Ezugwu has distributed food items to over 1000 vulnerable and indigent widows of the community to cushion the effects of the spread of COVID-19 virus.
High Chief Ezugwu in a brief but solemn ceremony said he was touched by the growing hunger and starvation precipitated by the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, explaining that the palliative materials to indigent households in Ogbo-Ozalla, Opi community was for people to comply with the stay at home order.
The palliative materials which included tubers of yam, bags of rice, cartons of noodles, tablets of soap among others were distributed to select indigent house-holds of the community.
In a chat with our reporter, Eze Ezugwu said the aim of the palliative was to cushion the economic effect of the lockdown declared by the World Health Organization, WHO, to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“I decided to assist Enugu State Government and Nsukka Local Government Council to alleviate the suffering of the people. I’m doing this from my pocket, not from government coffers. This is the much I can do for now to my people to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in our community.
“I know it has not been easy for our people and so, I have to carry out this humanitarian initiative to put a smile on the faces of the indigent people in my community so as to give them hope and sense of belonging.”
We have not quarantined any doctor, nurse or health worker — NAUTH
The Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, NAUTH, Nnewi, Anambra State, yesterday said it has not quarantined any doctor, nurse or health worker.
The hospital also said that since they have been working with Anambra State Team of Epidemiologists and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, running tests, none of the suspected cases of COVID-19, they sent for confirmation has returned positive.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in his office in Nnewi, the Chief Medical Director of NAUTH, Professor Anthony Igwegbe said the hospital under the coordination of Anambra State Team of Epidemiologists and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has been running tests on suspected patients and till date, none of the samples has returned positive.
Prof. Igwegbe also said that the health institution has neither quarantined some doctors or nurses at the hospital as being speculated in some quarters nor, had any patient tested positive to the deadly pandemic.
“NCDC has not reported any positive case recorded by the hospital and has not announced any death. It is the duty of the NCDC to make such things public and nothing like that is reported to the agency because we have no case.”
“We always work in tandem with the NCDC through the State Team of Epidemiologists as far as the covid-19 issue is concerned and never did anything unilaterally.
He urged them to maintain their personal hygiene, wear face mask, observe social distance as well as, abide by other government directives to control the spread of the deadly virus.
Also speaking, Chief Patrick Omeje the Chairman of Nsukka LG, who was represented by Hon. Damian Eze secretary of the council thanked Eze Opi for helping the government with his palliatives items describing it as an uncommon generosity.
“The hospital would only engage its trained laboratory scientists to get specimen from a patient where the coordinating team and agency were engaged.
“The samples to confirm the status of a Coronavirus suspect were always taken to Iruua Specialist Hospital, Edo State, Abakiliki, Ebonyi State or most recently the newly approved testing center at Accunalysis Diagnostic Center, Nnewi.”
He said the hospital has not recorded any death of Coronavirus victim, neither has it recorded any single positive case for Covid-19 since the pandemic started let alone, quarantining doctors, nurses or any health worker, all samples sent for tests, so far returned negative.
“This a big health institution where people with different ailments and sickness are treated, there is no basis therefore to conclude if any patient die in the hospital that he or she died of Coronavirus.”