The Abia State Government has urged the leadership of northern communities in the state to strongly advise their members against inviting or receiving their kinsmen from other parts of the country into the state until the ongoing war against COVID-19 is over.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG ) and Chairman of the Inter Ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Barr Chris Ezem, made the call at the Government House, Umuahia, during a meeting of members of the committee with the leadership of the northern communities resident in the state.
Barr Ezem explained that allowing their kinsmen to sneak into the state now that inter-state borders are closed on the orders of the Federal Government would likely lead to endangering and exposing not only their lives but also that of others to the deadly virus.
He warned that government might be compelled to close all the livestock markets operated by members of the northern community in the state if further reports are received on northern youths being stowed away in trucks carrying livestock and cement from the north into the state.
“We are worried that despite repeated warnings, we continue to receive reports of northern youths stowed away in cattle and Dangote cement trucks bound for our state and other neighboring states. That is unacceptable to us and must stop forthwith. We strongly view these acts as sabotage against the war on COVID-19 which we have invested a lot of state resources on. If things don’t change quickly, we will start with a 2-week ban on trucks bringing cows into our state.
“There are also reports that your members are not abiding by our COVID-19 regulations on compulsory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision of materials for hand washing as well as directives on operation time for markets in the state. That must stop now or we will take drastic measures, within the law, to protect all citizens and residents of the state,” he said.
Also speaking, the Sarkin Hausawa of the State, Alhaji Yaro Danladi, and Chief Imam of Aba, Alhaji Idris Bashir, appreciated Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, for his focused efforts to protect the state from COVID-19.
He assured that their members would work with the government to ensure that the desired results were achieved.
Danladi promised to take necessary measures to stem the tide of migration from the north into the state during this period as well as ensure that members of their community in the state abide by all the guidelines issued by the committee.