TOGETHER IN FAITH, WE WILL
OVERCOME COVID-19 PANDEMIC
BEING THE TEXT OF THE STATE BROADCAST
BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. UDOM EMMANUEL,
GOVERNOR, AKWA IBOM STATE ON THE STATUS
OF THE RELAXATION OF RESTRICTIONS OF
MOVEMENTS OCCASIONED BY THE CORONA VIRUS
MAY 1ST, 2020, GOVERNMENT HOUSE, UYO
My dear Akwaibomites,
I address you today because shafts of light have broken through the long night of this Covid-19 pandemic in our State. True to His word, God and only Him has been with us. We have been troubled, but not distressed; we have been perplexed by this novel disease but not in despair; we have been persecuted by conspiracy theorists but not forsaken; many who have been cast down by the disease were not destroyed. This is our testimony. This is our story.
I thank you my dear people for the cooperation and understanding you have shown so far in fighting this pandemic. This is a challenge that has tested our collective resolve and layers of our mutual engagements. Never in the history of this nation, not even during the Civil War, have the freedoms we enjoy and sometimes take for granted: freedom of assembly, of association, of worship and movements been curtailed and enforced for the interest, overall wellbeing and common good of all. We did this, because the protection of life is the first and most cardinal element of the Social Contract.
Permit me also, to thank most sincerely and deeply our passionate and committed healthcare professionals and other support staff for the great care they have given to those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. I salute the dedication of these our brothers and sisters on the frontlines who, even at great personal risk, have not shied away from this noble duty. As a State, we are grateful to them and we ask God to bless them.
As I have always said, We were prepared for Covid-19. The investments we have made in secondary healthcare facilities, the world class isolation centre at the Ibom Specialist Hospital, the one in Ikot Ekpene, and the 300 – bed isolation centre at Ituk Mbang which will soon be ready have come in handy in our care and management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our investments too, in agriculture, the numerous garri processing mills, the rice mill in Ini local Government Area, the flour mill, all these, have today, established our readiness to feed our people in times and moments of emergency such as this. Few weeks ago, we provided food items – garri, rice and flour to almost all the 2,274 recognized villages in the State and other groups to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
It is noteworthy that these staple food items were produced here in our State. Imagine what our fate would have been given the inter-State border closures if we had to bring in these food items from other States. Some of our medical consumables too, are drawn from our Syringes manufacturing company, and this, again, is a testament to our vision in healthcare delivery services.
These measures have gone a long way in helping us to curb the menace of this pandemic. We are grateful to God for those who have recovered and we are hopeful that with the excellent work of our healthcare professionals and the adherence of our people to the personal hygiene and social distancing guidelines, we will contain this pandemic effectively.
Therefore, as a law abiding component of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and in line with the guidelines for the relaxation of some restrictions which were put in place to enable us manage the pandemic and determined to open up our economy and put our State back to work again, I wish to make the following declarations:
- The use of face mask by all persons is now compulsory in
- A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed all over the State from the hours of 8pm to 6am effective Monday, May 4th, 2020.
- The ban on religious gatherings, hospitality services, social
gatherings, parties, funerals and concerts remain in effect until further notice. All plazas and recreational centres are
to remain closed.
- All schools will remain closed until further notice. However,
our School on Radio programme on AKBC Radio which has been hugely welcomed and popular will continue to address the instructional and teaching needs of our students until we are able to reopen schools.
- Non-essential inter-State movements remain prohibited
except those involving agricultural produce or medical
personnel and equipment.
- Markets will be opened three times a week, (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) between 10 am – 4 pm to enable people stock up their supplies. Face masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed by all.
- All passengers using public transport must make use of face mask. Tricycles must not carry more than three passengers. Taxis must carry a maximum of three persons (One in front and two behind), and buses must not carry more than two persons per row. All public transport operators must provide hand sanitizers in their vehicles. Also remember that the ban on commercial motorcycles within the precincts of Uyo capital city is still in effect.
- Farmers will be allowed to carry out their tasks and freely
transport their food items while wearing facemasks and not be more than three people in any given public transport vehicle.
- Agricultural produce will be allowed free and easy movement
across the State – the use of facemasks must be enforced.
To help reopen our economy and get the machinery of governance moving again, a phased resumption of duties will come into effect. All Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries should work out modalities that will get the staff of their respective Ministries to return to work in batches. However, they should ensure that not more than 30 per cent of the workforce of each Ministry, Department and Agency is at work at any given time. All workers should observe social distancing and personal hygiene requirements including the compulsory use of face masks.
Brothers and sisters, we solicit your absolute cooperation as we gradually begin to open up our economy and get our people back to a life of normalcy. I urge you to continue to maintain the sanitary protocols such as hand washing, the use of hand sanitizers, social distancing and other announced guidelines to stem the spread of this virus.
We have intensified our contact-tracing process, knowing full well, that the easiest way and means of reducing the spread of this pandemic is through this process. Our recent score of 99 percent by the NCDC in contact-tracing underscores our determination to stem the spread of this virus.
Now that this night of fear is giving way to a dawn of hope, let us march on knowing that Corona Virus is not a death sentence. Several people who were earlier infected and were given proper care, have turned out negative and have been discharged. You may have seen a number of these discharged patients recently when they came out to speak to the Press. We have world class medical facilities; please make use of these facilities. Do not wait until conditions become dire and almost medically hopeless before you bring such a patient to us. Together and in faith, we will defeat this pandemic and get our economy working again.
God bless you all and God bless Akwa Ibom State.