The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has said that the state was yet to receive a farthing as financial assistance from the federal government in the fight against the coronavirus scourge.
The governor who stated this in a media chat in Uyo said it was important to clear the misconception that the state was being supported financially by the federal government to tackle the disease.
“As I’m talking to you, I’m yet to receive one naira from the federal government for the fight against Covid-19. A lot of people believe we are doing all these things because the federal government has given us so much money. No, not at all. We do this because we see our responsibility to save lives and I had said that I will be at the forefront of this fight,” he said.
He admonished citizens that despite all what his administration has done to keep the state safe, the primary responsibility to stay safe does not rest with the governor, health workers or government, but on an individual adult citizen of the state.
However, he thanked Akwa Ibom citizens, corporate organisations and development partners that have worked with the state to salvage the situation.
“It’s been a very challenging time and as I said during the last briefing that if God does not take this away as we have prayed then we must find a way to survive.
“Let me appreciate all our health workers, security agents, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), political and other stakeholders and all our citizens who have shown understanding and cooperation within this period.
“I appreciate those who obey the guidelines and even those who do not; but mainly people working in our case management centres, call centres and security agents who have done a fantastic job within this period,” he said.
He also acknowledging the support of the media in the fight and solicited continued understanding and support from citizens.
He revealed that one of those who criticized his administration’s response to Covid-19 was unfortunately stricken by the infection and the same medical facilities and system he condemned were used to treat him.
“Today, if you ask him, I’m sure he will say something different. So, be rest assured that every decision is taken, every guideline by this government is to protect lives and that is the primary aim. We give out these guidelines based on advice from experts
On the conduct of funerals and weddings, the governor said the government had reviewed the situation based on advice from experts.
“I want to say that having reviewed the situation I want to, first of all, express our sympathy to those who have lost their loved ones during this period.
“I know how we celebrate death, but given the situation we are in, let’s try and adjust. For funerals, we have to come to an understanding that if you are doing funeral in an open, you will take not more than 50 people and must adhere to all CAN/AKSG guidelines.
“I’ve heard so many churches say they are not members of CAN. If you are not a member of CAN, and don’t obey government guidelines then you are not supposed to operate in Akwa Ibom because everybody must submit themselves to law and order.
“If you are doing the obsequies in the church you are not supposed to be more than 30. We’ll send out our monitoring teams to monitor this. Don’t call us bad names because you want to be above the law; nobody is above the law.
“For those who want to do a wedding, I know there are a lot of emotions attached to this. It’s the same guideline, 50 outside and 30 inside. It’s even cost-effective at this time,” he said.
The governor said there is need for vigilance among citizens because data of global transmission of the infection shows that there may be a second upsurge.
He said the government would not want anyone to be exposed to the virus.
“If you must go out wear a mask. If you don’t feel like wearing the mask please stay at home. A lot of people are asymptomatic and keep infecting other people without knowing.
“I wouldn’t want this to continue. We cannot share our experience in what we’ve gone through in managing this infection. It’s extremely expensive and then we are running out of stock of some of the drugs we are using to treat patients and we don’t know how to replenish them since they are not manufactured in Nigeria. We don’t want to get to the point where we are overwhelmed,” he said.
He announced that the government was planning to set up support facilities at isolation centres to cater for testing blood sugar, blood pressure and other co-morbidities that would make the management of Covid-19 complicated.
The governor also called on any indigene of Akwa Ibom who contracted the disease anywhere in the world to find their way back to the state for testing and proper treatment.
“So, when you see the spike in a number of infections don’t be frightened; our cases are still quite low compared to figures around the globe, glory to God, not man.
“We keep thanking God for what is happening in Akwa Ibom state.
“People come in from neighbouring states; there was a time we checked our border control and counted over 265 vehicles that came in,” he said.
He disclosed that Akwa Ibom people living in other states were coming in for treatment adding that the state would treat them because they are citizens.
However, he cautioned such persons against lying about where they are coming from since the information will be useful during contact tracing.