Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi on Sunday said he cannot order a total lockdown of the state due to covid-19 pandemic because of its economic peculiarities and poverty index.
Though the governor had before now ordered a dusk to dawn curfew in the state, as a way of checking the spread of the disease, he said: “I considered the state’s poverty index as those agitating that I close all markets have to re-evaluate their suggestions.
“We have not recorded any index case of COVID-19 and therefore, there is no need to entirely shut our economic activities.”
Umahi stated this in a statement by Mr Uchenna Orji, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, thanking residents of the state for their patience over the dusk to dawn curfew, noting that their compliance was ‘encouraging’.
“The level of compliance attests to the great work of our Local Government Area chairmen, Coordinators of development centres, security agencies among other stakeholders in the battle against this virus.
“I am of the opinion that if by May 1, 2020, and there is no record of the disease in Ebonyi, we shall lift the 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. curfew but maintain total closure of the boundaries within a distance of 300 meters radius.
“We shall also be lifting the ban on motorcycles by May 1, if we do not record any case as I appeal to motorcyclists to exercise more patience as I re-evaluate the situation,” he said.
The governor further disclosed that the state had received 1, 800 bags of 50kg rice and one truck-load of tomatoes from the Federal Government, while producing its own rice and other cooking items.
“We will start distributing such to our people when we complete production as the collation of names for the Federal Government conditional cash transfer palliative is ongoing polling unit by polling unit.
“Anyone with a complaint should report to the state COVID-19 situation room and I appeal to the public, especially politicians and the media, not to circulate fake news that could increase fear and panic among the public,” Umahi said.
The governor, while speaking on the faceoff between the state government and some journalists, said whatever misgivings the government had with the correspondents of the Vanguard and Sun newspapers in the state had been forgiven and “kept behind”.
“No journalist is banned from entering any government premises rather they are invited to partner with the government to win the war against COVID-19,” he said.
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