Broadcast by his Excellency, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State on measures taken to fight the scourge of Lassa-fever and Covid-19 in Ebonyi State.
It has become necessary that I personally inform the good people of Ebonyi State the steps and efforts taken by our government to protect our people from the harm and fear of Lassa-fever and Covid-19
I as the Governor of Ebonyi State shall from today 24th March, 2020 be the Coordinator of the medical team put together by our government to arrest the situation. The Chief Medical Director of Dr. Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AE-FETHA) and the Commissioner for Health shall be the Secretary and Assistant-Secretary respectively while the Deputy Governor and the Speaker will be assisting me directly. Other members of the team and phone numbers shall be made available to the public immediately by the Secretary to the State Government.
Before the first record of Covid-19 in Nigeria, our government had built two Covid-19 Quarantine Centres in Abakaliki and at our boarder with Enugu state, at Ishielu Local Government Area.
We have closed all Schools, Night Clubs, Sporting activities and from 25th March, 2020, gathering of more than 50 persons other than in the essential service centres such as Markets, Ricemills, Religious Centres, Banks, Hotels, and other essential Service Centres shall be an offence.
We have advised all Religious Institutions and all Centres for essential Services as mentioned above to provide nose masks, running water and ensure that every person entering and exiting do wash their hands in a running water and use sanitizers, gaps (distancing) must be created among people within these essential Service Centres. Temperature recorder and breathing technique must be adopted to check all that may use these essential Service Centres. Government shall send medical personnel and security agencies to monitor all essential Service Centres for compliance with effect from 24th March, 2020.
Any of these Service Centres that fails to observe these measures will be severely punished, including compulsory shut down, penalty and arrest of the Chief Executives of such Centres.
We have had meetings with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Muslim Community and we have agreed that we shall not shut down religious institutions for now as no case is recorded in South East. They must however observe all the precautions and procedures to protect their members and the general public. God forbid, should it become necessary tomorrow to shut down religious institutions, our government shall be bold enough to do so after meeting with religious leaders.
Our Government has declared 7 days fasting and prayer with effect from 25th March, 2020 to 1st April, 2020 6am to 6pm daily. However, there will be no gathering in doing this but CAN and other religious bodies can use our TV and Radio Live telecast to close the prayer daily. Such gathering at the EBBC premises of the religious leaders must not be more than 50 people. This means that we pray in our homes or work place as the case may be. We request all Ebonyians to join our Government and all religious bodies in this State to observe this fasting and prayer as together we seek the face of God for mercy and forgiveness.
With effect from 24th of March 2020 to 14th of April 2020, there shall be no gathering of more than 50 people, no burial ceremonies, no wake-keep, no naming ceremonies, no wedding outside religious premises, no conferences, no crusades etc.
From 25th of March 2020 to 14th of April 2020, all civil servants from grade level 01 to 10 must stay off work but must be vigilant as they could be called to perform essential services any moment. Those on health and other essential services are hereby excluded.
All retirees on health are hereby recalled at State and Local Government Areas to help our medical team in our fight to protect our people.
All parks and public transport must give mask to their passengers and must observe distancing by reducing the number of passengers to create space. Washing of hands and sanitizers and temperature gauge must be deployed at all parks. All tricycle operators must not carry more than 2 passengers at a time and motorcycle operators only one passenger at a time.
All passengers to and from Lagos, Edo, Abuja and Southwest must be recorded and submitted to the Ministry of Health on daily basis. Their phone numbers are essential too. This will help our medical team to monitor them.
Every one coming from outside the country must do self-isolation for 14 days and must contact the Ministry of Health. Individuals are requested to give us information on such person(s), their locations and phone numbers.
Anyone observed with frequent coughing, sneezing, difficulty in breathing, fever or coming from outside Nigeria must be reported to Ministry of Health and their phone numbers to be made available.
From 26th of March 2020, all entry and exit points to Ebonyi State shall be manned by our medical and security personnel. All vehicles and passengers shall be checked and passengers examined.
We have purchased a number of equipment like temperature gauge, ventilators and isolation cubicles. Our virology laboratory equipment for Laser Fever will be deployed for blood sample testing of suspected Covid-19 Patients with symptoms before 1st of April, 2020 when we shall have the test kits. Only three centres are presently doing the testing in Nigeria – Abuja, Lagos and Edo.
When ours comes up by 1st of April, 2020, it shall serve South East and South South and even North Central.
We have had meetings with all town union presidents, traditional rulers, Chairmen of Local Government Areas and Coordinators. They had on my instruction done a lot of campaign against the Lassa Fever, Covid-19 and Cholera from ward to ward. Health workers at all Local Government Areas have been trained to move from house to house in all our communities to create awareness, check people, educate people, introduce basic rules to help them stay safe.
All Local Government Chairmen, Their Royal Highnesses, all town union Presidents, Coordinators, Councilors Liaison Officers and Management Committee members are to supervise this exercise. Any one observed with any of the suspected symptoms shall be lifted with Ambulance to Abakaliki where sample shall be taken to check for Lassa fever in our laboratory in Abakaiki or be sent to Edo State to test for Covid-19 pending when our laboratory will come on by 1st April, 2020.
We must pray and fast but if we do not observe the rules, we will be doing a disservice to ourselves, families and the society. God requires us to be wise in times like this. There is no need to fear as our Government is doing everything possible to protect our people.
On the economy, let us stay alive first and we will tackle the economic situation confronting the entire nation.
At this juncture, let me commend very highly the President and Commander-in-chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR; the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu; the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Chief Godwin Emiefele and the Lagos State Government for their concerted efforts in containing the scourge of this deadly Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria. We believe that God’s grace is sufficient for us.
I want to assure my good people of Ebonyi State that I am on board with you in this trying moment of our existence and with God, we shall overcome.
Engr. David Nweze Umahi, FNSE, FNATE Governor of Ebonyi State