By Ugochukwu Alaribe – Umuahia
Abia State Government has warned families of the state origin residing in other states to stop transporting their dead members’ bodies to the state.
The government warned that the action of transporting the dead bodies into Abia is in total violation of the existing ban on inter-state movement as defaulters would face the wrath of the law.
Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, explained that the state government is aware of a case of a family that sneaked into the state the corpse of their father who allegedly died of COVID-19 in Kano state.
He disclosed that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu has directed the ministry of homeland security to ensure that everyone in the compound of the affected family is quarantined pending when the medical rapid response team will fully collect and tested samples of mourners involved.
In his words; “For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to restate that whoever enters our state during this period of ban on interstate movement is in breach of state and federal regulations and will have themselves to blame as the law will be applied to the fullest in order to protect the people of Abia State.
“All village heads, traditional rulers, and community leaders must take responsibility to stop and report any person that enters their community from outside the state within this period or face necessary sanctions. On no account should any corpse from outside the state be brought into any community for burial or preservation in a mortuary without the written approval of the state or local government concerned.
“Mortuaries in the state are also not permitted to receive such corpses without obtaining a permit from relevant local or state authorities to avoid immediate sanctions including closure of the facility. The morgue operators should also endeavor to report families with such corpses to the relevant authorities. We strongly advise citizens and residents of the state to remain wherever they are within or outside the state till this pandemic is over.”
The Commissioner further stated Gov.Ikpeazu has directed the enforcement team on COVID-19 to impound all commercial inter-state vehicles operating in the state and quarantine both the drivers and passengers for a minimum period of 21 days.