Abia State Government has announced the extension of the lockdown over covid-19 by seven days effective from Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Chris Ezem, who disclosed this in a statement, explained that the extension had become necessary to confirm if indeed the state is free of the virus, stressing that the normal incubation period for the virus is 14 days.
He stated that government is aware of the hardship the lockdown has brought to the people, adding that it is better to live with temporary inconvenience than to expose residents to the disease while searching for comfort.
Ezem noted that NCDC is still tracking over 2,000 suspected cases of the virus across the country, warning that the situation calls for extra vigilance, even as the suspected persons are not from the state.
He assured that the state government will continue to distribute equipment and food throughout the period.
"Abia State Government hereby announces the extension of the lockdown by seven days effective from Wednesday, April 8, 2020. This extension is necessary to confirm that we are indeed free of the virus. This is because the normal incubation period for the virus is 14 days.
"Government is aware of the hardship and inconvenience this situation has brought upon our people. But it is better to live with temporary inconvenience than to expose ourselves to this disease in search of comfort. Within this period, government will continue to distribute some food items, sanitizers and face masks which commenced officially today.
"Government hereby directs all the various enforcement teams at the state and local government levels as well as all security agencies to continue the enforcement of the directives on lockdown at the borders, markets, transport operators, religious groups and all forms of public gathering."
MASSOB vows to resist Chinese medical team in S/East
Meantime, the leadership of the Movement for the Actualization of the African Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) said yesterday that it would resist the planned Chinese medical assistance to Nigeria in the Biafran territory, warning the government of China to limit the medical services to the Arewa and Oduduwa areas of the country.
MASSOB leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu, in a statement said the assistance should be concentrated in the northern and south western parts of the country where the Covid-19 was active.
According to MASSOB, the decision to bring the Chinese was part of the grand design by President Muhammadu Buhari to sell Nigeria's economic sovereignty to China.
MASSOB said: "It is his desire to solidify a new Chinese colonization of Nigeria, which is gradually diffusing the economic and political interest of the government of United States of America in Nigeria.
"MASSOB shall resist any medical assistance from China to the people of Biafra.
"Coronavirus disease is not in Biafra land and can never penetrate in Biafra land. It is only on trade, commerce and political diplomacy that the people of Biafra have a bilateral relationship with the people and government of China.
"MASSOB, therefore, advises Chinese government and people not to bother themselves on the people of Biafra concerning coronavirus disease.
"They should concentrate their medical assistance to President Buhari's kinsmen in Arewa land and political associates in Oduduwa land, who are more devastated in the coronavirus infections because MASSOB has informed the people of Biafra to resist any form of medical assistance from China in regards to coronavirus disease.
"Medical doctors and other health workers in South East and South South are capable and are well trained to handle every medical challenge professionally.
"MASSOB hereby advises the eastern zone of Nigeria Medical Association to reject outright this President's sudden love for the lives of our people.
"President Buhari has never stopped the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group that is devastating the Northeast.
"He has not stopped or arrested the rampaging herdsmen on ethnic cleansing mission in the middle belt.
"He has not condemned the terrorist activities of herdsmen in Igbo land and did not show any moral sensitivity of a president to Nigerian citizens in South Africa when our people were slaughtered in xenophobic killings in that country. Why this sudden love of protecting Ndigbo from coronavirus disease?"
Food items arriving in Imo - Uzodinma
Also yesterday, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State said that food items for the less privileged have started arriving into the state, as part of the palliatives for covid-19 pandemic.
The Commissioner for Social Welfare and Sanitation, Elias Emedom made this known to newsmen in Owerri.
He said the distribution will be done according to the 305 wards in the state. The traditional rulers, town union presidents as well as the local government chairmen will be involved.
"The governor of Imo State will be working with the Ministry of Social Welfare and sanitation and task force on covid-19 led by Professor Maurice Iwu, in bringing the palliatives to Imo citizens to help them survive the negative effect of the virus.
"I want to tell you that soon, the government will make good his promises for Imo citizens. It will be displayed at the 305 wards in Imo State. The traditional rulers, presidents of town unions and the authorities at the local government will all be involved.
"As I am talking to you now, the food items have started arriving in Imo State and soon , things will start working out in Imo State and our people will start benefitting. The governor is serious and under the shared prosperity agenda, Imolites will enjoy and thank the government."
Enugu correctional centre restricts visits
Similarly, the Enugu Maximum Correctional Centre has announced immediate restriction of unnecessary visits to the centre to protect inmates from contracting the virus.
The Controller of Enugu Correctional Centre, Mr. Joseph Chinedu Emelue who made this known to pressmen yesterday, disclosed that other measures introduced in the correctional centre includes: steady hand washing with detergent, use of hand sanitizers, social distancing, prohibition of handshaking and hugging.
"We at Enugu State command are very much aware of this pandemic that is ravaging the whole world and we have been doing everything within our power to ensure that it doesn't get to our correctional centre and in view of that, we have sensitised the correctional community, the staff and inmates about the need for frequent hand washing with soap and sanitizers and how to sneeze with your nose covered with hand or tissue.
"We have also told them about social distancing, no hand shaking or hugging.
"We have cut off unnecessary visits to the inmates because it is believed that interaction with outsiders whose whereabout was not known might escalate the situation. So, visit has been trimmed for now and we also become careful on what they eat as we serve inmates more water now than before", he said.
When asked about his position on decongesting the correctional centre as a preventive measure, he said that the Federal Government is planning to release those with minor offences.
He advised Nigerian youths to comply with government order and avoid confrontation with security agents.
Monarch-elect donates food items to communities
Following the pandemic, the proposed Ubogidi/Ozara autonomous community in Nsukka local government area, Enugu State, yesterday, shed tears of joy as the traditional ruler-elect of the community, High Chief Asadu Samuel Ikechukwu (Okenwa Ogadagidi) shared bags of rice and beans to every home across Ubogidi/Ozara and Edem Ani communities to maintain the lockdown directive.
High Chief Asadu, a United States of America, USA-based medical practitioner and traditional ruler-elect of Ubogidi/Ozara community in Nsukka local government area said through his Personal Assistant, John Okanyi while distributing the food items that the gesture was for the communities to maintain the lockdown directive of the World Health Organization WHO, maintain social distancing as a measure to nip in the bud the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking while distributing the food items on behalf of the traditional ruler-elect, Okanyi said that the palliative measure was to ensure that the communities stayed safe of the pandemic. He also urged them to maintain the sanitization method and wash their hands as often as possible as the said virus has no cure at the moment.
The personal assistant said the relief food items were purposely designed to caution the effect of the lockdown directive to ensure that the communities stayed safe under the coronavirus pandemic, regretting that the traditional ruler-elect of the community could not make it home as airports and seaports have been closed due to the pandemic.
Moghalu donates relief materials to Anambra APC
In a related development, the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu, yesterday donated food items and sanitary materials to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State as part of his contribution towards mitigating the effects of the stay at home order in the state.
The items, which were donated through Moghalu's Zimuzo Development Foundation, included 2,240 bags of rice; 1,850 cartons of noodles and sanitary buckets, among others.
Rev. Ukadike Ibeabuchi, who stood in for the donor said that the materials were to help cushion the harsh effect of coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
According to him, Moghalu was moved by the challenges which the people were facing following the restriction of movements.
He said: "The local government chairmen of the party are to take their shares to their various local governments and from there to the wards. From the wards, the people at the grassroots will receive their own items".
The acting chairman of APC in the state, Chief Basil Ejidike, who received the materials on behalf of the party, thanked Moghalu for the gesture, assuring that they would be properly distributed to the people.
He explained that what Moghalu provided was not just for the party members, but for the people of Anambra State.
"From what we have on record, this is the first time an aspirant is providing all these items through the party. We must be very fair about it," Chief Ejidike said.
"This is one thing people appear not to appreciate so much. The platform must be very, very strong. It is only when the platform is strong that you can talk of contesting on that platform. You cannot contest on a weak platform and expect to win.
"So, it behoves on all of us to ensure that this party is made strong enough to be able to win the election come next year.
"I therefore commend him so much for appreciating the need to build the party", Ejidike said.