By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State
GOVERNOR Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state yesterday disclosed that alleged plot to smuggle sixty-eight suspected to have tested positive to COVID-19 into the state was foiled through intelligence gathering.
Emmanuel spoke yesterday when he received the Akwa Ibom caucus in the National Assembly, who was in the state on a facility tour of the newly constructed Isolation Centre for Quarantine and Prevention of Infectious Diseases in Ituk Mbang General Hospital, Uruan local government area.
According to the governor, Intelligence revealed that the suspected cases, who were from distant states, had liaised with some of their collaborators that resides in the state who had encouraged them to come into the state and take advantage of the robust healthcare system made available for those confirmed COVID-19 cases.
His words, “I have text messages where people were trying to communicate with their colleagues here and those colleagues encouraged them to move into the state with the assurance that people are better treated here.
“Guess the number they tried to bring in about 68 of them. So you can imagine if they were allowed to come in. So by the time the intelligence got to us, I used the police to block them. In the absence of that, I think so far, the curve has declined drastically”.
“Besides the 68, yesterday we got a call from one village in Etinan that somebody sneaked in from another state. The person had symptoms where he was and he just discovered that here people who had symptoms or tested positive are better treated.
” People even enter through water and when they come in, they declare themselves to be having symptoms so we can pick them up, give them the treatment because they are hearing the testimonies and even calling people to see what we are doing: the way we treat people here, the way we feed people here.
“Recall I had already said that where we isolate people should be as good as where any national assembly person should stay. So we have tried to make everybody comfortable”.
Governor Emmanuel frowned at the moves by people from other parts of the country to invade the state, stressing that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum had agreed that inter-state borders should be closed to passenger movements until announced otherwise, as a measure to halt the COVID-19 spread.
“So let nobody misunderstand anybody we don’t want people to start loading luxury buses and start spreading the transmission even with that we are still having issues having the longest shoreline.
“I want to assure you that the state government will continue to do more to ensure a better and more robust post-COVID economy”
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial district, Senator Christopher Ekpenyong commended the governor for his drive in the fight against COVID-19.
“We have seen a great transformation you have done at the Ituk Mbang Isolation centre. We say thank you very much, and if we never had you by this time the state would have suffered a severe casualty. We have also been told of your setting up of a Post- COVID-19 Economic Reconstruction Committee”, Ekpenyong said.
The Lawmakers donated the sum of N5 million to the State COVID-19 Management Committee, to support the provision of face masks for the people of the state.