My dear people of Akwa Ibom State,
A little over a week ago, I had cause to address you concerning the state of affairs in our dear State as it has to do with the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic across the globe. I told you at the time that there was no CONFIRMED case of Covid-19 in the State. That information at that time was correct. We had a few suspected cases that showed symptoms of the disease and had taken samples and sent them to the approved NCDC testing facilities and they all came out negative. I also told you of the preventive measures we had put in place to prevent a possible incidence of the disease here. However, just last night, we watched on the news that 5 cases have been confirmed positive by the NCDC.
Thankfully, this information, sad as it is, did not meet us unprepared. Just 2 days ago, I inspected facilities at one of the isolation centres we have prepared for possible cases such as this. This is in addition to the already existing one in Ikot Ekpene, and I can assure you that other facilities are being prepared for similar use should the need for it arise.
As I speak, the confirmed cases who are mostly healthcare professionals are in good health and have so far presented no symptoms. However, they have been moved to the isolation centres for proper management and the process of contact tracing has begun, to identify those who they may have been exposed to. To enable this process to be carried out effectively, I am hereby announcing a complete cessation of movement in the State extended to period of 14 days. There will be no movement of persons, except those on essential duties who must carry a proper means of identification on them at all times. All business premises, markets, shops, motor parks and offices must remain closed during this period. The only exception will be pharmacies and grocery shops. All events of any nature are prohibited during this period. The relevant security agencies have been briefed and they will ensure strict compliance with this directive.
My fellow AkwaIbomites, this pandemic is of a global scale and there is no one Country or State that can claim to have been 100% ready for it. I enjoin all of us to come together so that we can win this battle. This is not the time to panic or spread fear. This is the time to strengthen our faith. All hands must be on deck to defeat this pandemic in our State, nation and the world. Trading blames, playing politics and spreading rumours will not do us any good. What we need to do is to stay at home, practice social distancing and good personal hygiene, provide accurate and useful information to health workers whenever necessary. Like we all know, the virus doesn’t move on its own. People move and spread it. When we stop moving, the virus will stop spreading. I am also encouraging every person who may have been potentially exposed to the virus by whatever means, or who is experiencing any of the symptoms of the illness to immediately call the emergency numbers that are already in the public space. The disease is not a death sentence and many people around the world and in our own country have recovered from it. We are hopeful that by the grace of God and the work of our healthcare professionals, anybody who has been infected will recover and return to his/her family in good health.
Let me express my appreciation to the patriotic sons and daughters of the State who have been forthcoming with useful information that has enabled us keep track of and manage these cases. I encourage any other persons with useful information to talk to us through the emergency numbers that have already been made public. I also appreciate our healthcare professionals who are at the frontlines of this response. We will remain eternally indebted to them even as we encourage them not to relent in bringing their training, expertise and experience to bear in the management of this pandemic.
I know that this is a difficult period for all of us as a State. The cessation of movement is for me a very difficult but very necessary decision. I solicit the cooperation and understanding of all of us as we make this sacrifice.
My dear brothers and sisters, these are indeed trying times, but I assure you that you are not alone. We are in this together. You have entrusted me with the responsibility of leading you and on this issue, as with all other issues, I will continue to lead from the front. I can promise you that we will leave no stone unturned in the fight against this pandemic. We may have been bruised but we will not be broken. While hoping for the best, we will prepare for the worst, but be rest assured that whatever that worst may be, it will not break us. I am hopeful, that with God on our side, this pandemic shall pass and we will be able to say that we have counted, and not one of us is missing.
Thank You very much and may God bless Akwa Ibom State.