Covid-19 response strategy and the Cross River’s ingenuity

Inspite of the media reportage of various degrees of COVID 19 infection across the neighbouring states, that is, Akwa Ibom, Benue,  Ebonyi and even Cameroon, an International border to the State, opening up at various fronts to about 8 Local Government Areas, the Cross River State Government as part of their proactive efforts to combat the spread of the novel corona virus into the state, had not just issued a ‘No Mask, No Movement’ directive but took a bold decision of closing off all state borders even when cases of COVID 19 were yet reported close-by.

In elucidating the import of the No Mask, No Movement Directive by His Excellency Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade KSJi, to members of the public, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Communication and Advocacy, Ms Beatrice Akpala, as well as the Special Assistant on Strategic Communication, Mr. Andrea Ekeng, pointed that government is committed to keep the people of Cross River State safe through the strict enforcement of all directives amongst its citizens, as defaulters will be quarantined for fourteen days (14), and a stringent fine of three hundred thousand naira (300,000) for impounded vehicles of those who flaw this order.

This enlightenment was given while they both appeared as guests on “Good Morning Cross River” - a weekly program that airs on the State's Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC).

The show which is intended to enlighten the public on the policies, strategic action plans, execution models and aftermath results of the State Government within a given period of time.
On the governor’s directive, Miss Akpala explained that taskforce members have been positioned at strategic locations to ensure total compliance, as taxi drivers are expected to carry only three passengers with nose masks per time, this she said were in tandem with the widely accepted COVID 19 protocol.

Speaking also on the proactiveness of the Governor, Mr. Ekeng noted that Governor Ayade’s initiative to engage the garment factory workers to produce free nose masks for Crossriverians to curtail the spread of the virus is a world class initiative, a procedure which the World Health Organization (WHO) and other advanced countries around the world have adopted.
Governor Ayade who is a professor and a immunologist has consistently from the onset advocated for the usage of nose mask as the best way to curtail the spread of the novel corona virus, a style which WHO initially kicked against, before accepting it as yet the best preventive method very recently and is now being adopted by governors of other states in Nigeria.

The Senior Special Assistant on Communication Ms Beatrice Akpala speaking emphatically noted that, “in the humane character of Governor Ben Ayade, the Food Bank has been opened to supply and distribute food items to the vulnerable and the aged people across the eighteen local government areas of the state”

She further said that “Governor Ayade has demystified governance with his people oriented approach of reaching out to everyone. The well thought out stimulus package provided for the aged and vulnerable distributed through family clusters, village heads and the Christian Association of Nigeria is commendable”, she said.

In Summary, Ms Akpala called on all Cross Riverians to support the efforts of governor BEN AYADE Led Administration, rather than reducing the virus to a joke and criticizing all efforts put in place so far by government and the taskforce, as headed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu.

On his part also, Mr. Ekeng concluded by calling on media practitioners, bloggers, the press, to rise to the occasion and not be swayed by emotions to raise false alarm, or raise unnecessary tension through the publishing of unverified reports, affirming that till now, Cross River State still remains COVID -19 free.

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