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COVID-19: Akwa Ibom Government Effort Not Good Enough – Expert

… Must inject stronger force if…

By Saviour Ekpe

Although the Akwa Ibom State Government has made a lip service announcement as part of effort to contend the scourging coronavirus in the state, the effort is seemed to be an outward show working activities but not to really contend it, given it severity and extent of devastation on human race and economy according to experts.

It is true that the State Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel through the Secretary to the State Government, Commissioners for Health and his Information Counterpart, issued press releases though some were controversial and contradictory to this effect. In one of the recent releases a strong statement but weak enforcement capacity reads in part, “the stay-at-home order will be strongly enforced”.

It is also true that the state government has set up monitoring team while chairmen of local councils were directed to set up similar committees in their respective LGAs but as at the time of filling this report, Monday March 30, 2020 at about noon, no single team neither in Uyo, the state capital nor local areas as reported by our correspondents.

When our reporter went round town, a visit to some places of interests shows that normal activities were going on unperturbed. In Etaha Itam main market for instance, regular buying and selling of all goods and services were going on against the directive of the government, “Markets are to remain open for the sale of foodstuff and essential items only”. In a similar vein, the Itam main park, though a bit of compliance has been observed the park operatives Uwem Esau, a driver and Ekong Uyire, Chairman Itam Park Welfare Committee who spoke at different scenes lamented lack of basic tools to checkmate the spread of the virus on passengers though on intra state activities, “we have complied effectively on government directives, but the government on its part supposed to provide us with hand sanitizers, testing equipment etc so that we would be sure of those we carry”.

At other locations, our reporter met some tricycle operators staging peaceful protest refusing to buy tickets, “why should we buy ticket when the government says people should stay at home?” The state secretariat serves as a model of obedient to government directive as no office was seen open as at the press time.

In his reaction to Century Newsfront, a social worker who pleaded anonymity called on governments at all levels to show seriousness in matching actions with words, “if the state government is committed to the safety of its citizens, more proactive measures should be deployed, since the state’s apparatus is meant for the security and safety of its citizens. If developed nations with all the apparatus and equipment manufactured by themselves could make the sit at home policy mandatory by deploying military and para military officials to ensure effective compliance, we the final consumers and end-users should rather double whatever effort we do knowing the gravity of the virus. I want to call on the Federal, State, Local Governments including village and community heads to join forces to ensure we combat this deadly phenomenon that ravages the whole world”.

While chatting with Century Newsfront, a clergyman in the state, Pastor Udeme Dennis James said that the issue of sit at home policy of the government is apt. he quoted from the book of Proverbs 23:12 “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it”. While urging all to obey the government directive as well as the word of God for their personal safety, called on the government to provide what he described as stimulants to her citizens to cushion the effect of staying at home and ameliorate their spending.

All efforts to speak to the state Commissioner for Information, Sir Charles Udoh was not successful.

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