PRESS STATEMENT(UPDATED VERSION) ARISE NEWS TV: REUBEN ABATI, CO-TRAVELLERS GOT IT WRONG

OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER,
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION& ORIENTATION
HEADQUARTERS
OPPOSITE CULTURAL CENTRE COMPLEX,CALABAR

10th April,2020

PRESS STATEMENT(UPDATED VERSION)

ARISE NEWS TV: REUBEN ABATI, CO-TRAVELLERS GOT IT WRONG

The attention of the Government of Cross River State has been drawn to a viral video,purported to have been extracted from the "THE MORNING SHOW Programme of ARISE NEWS TELEVISION" on Thursday, 9th April ,2020,in which the Presenters and their guest - Dr. Reuben Abati- a supposedly erudite Media exponent, turned himself into a jobless opportunist,who jumped at the platform offered him by a less fancied Television Station,to display brute mediocrity and hollow ingenuity in an attempt to discredit and misconstrue the scientific and empirically proven position of the Cross River State Governor, Sir Professor Ben Ayade, as regards the "No Mask, No Movement" policy  in the State, and as it relates to Physical , Social and Industrial  Distancing as preventive measures against contracting the novel Corona Virus pandemic.

Ordinarily, it should have been unnecessary to join issues with the ARISE NEWS  TV loosely packaged Presenters and their guest - Reuben Abati. It is however very instructive ,that the position of the Governor on the uncoordinated issues raised in the purported video by Dr. Abati and his co-travellers,who are still suffering from fatique in their limbo of oblivion.

First, since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, Governor Ayade has been in the forefront, championing the course for prevention of the virus among residents of our dear State.This, he is masterly doing, through issuance of Executive Orders on closure of all inter-State borders including the international borders with Cameroun and the stay at home order for all civil and public servants in the State.
The restriction of movements, use of alcohol based sanitizers, frequent washing of hands with soap under running water and maintaining  good personal hygiene,amongst others .

Suffice it to say that the proactive steps taken so far by the Governor have yielded positive results , as Cross River State has remained insulated from the Covid -19 pandemic till date,regardless of the daunting reality,that all our neighboring States including Akwa Ibom,Benue and even Cameroun with over 600 cases so far recorded,are facing.

Because the intent of MR Abati and his uninformed Panelists was  pre-meditated and targeted at maligning the good image of our Governor,who has worked so hard to contain this scourge, they completely closed their eyes to the remarkable steps  taken by the Governor to protect his people,some of which includes ; the provision of 100 brand new vehicles to the covid-19 response team,for enforcement and effective border patrol, provision of support to the Isolation Centre at UCTH, and the State contribution of #500 million to the Covid-19 pandemic purse is most  appalling.

Governor Ayade personally monitors compliance to these Orders and directives by all residents as well as visitors to the State,while massive sensitization and orientation of residents on the need to observe all the preventive measures are on-going, not forgetting the  translation of  prevention messages into several local languages spread across the eighteen Local Government Areas of the State.

It is therefore preposterous and despicable for the Arise News TV presenters and Dr. Reuben Abati, who themselves were locked down in a crowded cubicle,where they failed to observe the much talked about social distancing and without nose masks, contravened the lock down Order and should be arrested, quarantined  and tested for covid-19  as was the case with Nollywood Star,Funke Akindele and her husband.
They presented themselves as incongruous lethargic  fellows, bereft of the efficacy of the policy initiatives of the Governor  on “No mask , No movement” campaign.

More so, one would wonder how a theatre artiste like Reuben Abati, would have become more knowledgeable on the subject of virology than a renowned Professor of Microbiology with patent right to his credit and the originality of his intellectual property and with research breakthroughs in microbial biotechnology.

Again, the mere fact that MR Abati completely  Veered away from the subject , attempting to insult Cross Riverians,  calling them  "sycophants" and "bootlikers’   is most unfortunate as this is a State that plays host to the University where he(Abati)had his first ever tertiary education and can attest to the civility of an average Cross Riverian.
May I also remind him, incase he has forgotten,that he has himself  been an aide to a former President, an arena where bootlicking assumed a pyramidal dimension.

The Governor's explanation to say the least, as a Professor of Microbiology, was to buttress an existing fact that when you have a face or nose mask on, it protects you from contracting any virus regardless of whether you keep the physical social distancing or not.This is why our Medical and Health workers can confortably and conviniently wear the face and nose masks as well as other apparells to treat patients without necessarily contracting the disease which the patient is treated of.

As a Government, we are currently producing over  four million Face Masks from the State owned Garment Factory for distribution, free of charge, to all citizens and residents of Cross River ,in line with our avowed commitment to forestall the spread of the pandemic in   our State.

This is done, keeping in mind the peculiarity of the Cross River situation,which leaves the State insulated amidst other States with record incidences of corona virus.

The death toll in Europe and America are a clear testimonies to the fact that the WHO’s position(which has  long reversed itself on the issue of facial mask) is often taken by specialists who also acknowledge  the fact that,the applicability of such positions differs in terms of  peculiarity in geography and the prevailing circumstances of end users.
So as a State, there is no going back on our “No mask, No movement policy”, as this we believe,will keep  our status as one with zero incidence of Covid-19 by God’s grace.

Dr. Abati and his Co-travellers of the Arise News TV presenters of the Morning Show programme should as a matter of conscience offer an unreserved apology to Governor Ayade and Cross River State without delay. It is also expedient to advise Dr. Abati and his Co-travellers in the Arise News Television and indeed other media  houses to be cautious in running into hasty conclusions in whatever they lack knowledge about in order not to hoodwink unsuspecting members of the public into believing their story in the public domain.

While we await this public apology, we call on Cross Riverians to remain calm, in the face of this unwarranted provocation and continue to observe all preventive measures to keep our our dear State Covid-19 free!

Signed
Comrade Asu Okang,fcai
Commissioner for Information & Orientation.

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