The enlarged Inter-Ministerial Committee on Coronavirus set up by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu met today to review progress made to prevent the disease from afflicting the state as well as put in place control and mitigation plans in case of an unlikely outbreak and wish to restate that the state is yet to record any case of the virus.
In line with its mandate, the committee, with the due approval of Governor Ikpeazu, resolved as follows:
1. Immediate and full enforcement of the previous guidelines on social distancing should be implemented by security agencies with defaulters handed over to mobile courts for further action. Of particular concern is the partial compliance by tricycle (Keke) operators. Security agents are hereby directed to henceforth apprehend any defaulter for trial by a mobile court.
2. Abians and residents are strongly advised against non essential movements within and outside the state. We also encourage Abians who are currently outside the state to remain at those locations pending full containment of the rampaging pandemic.
3. All establishments in the state, particularly hotels, eateries and restaurants, that fail to comply with previous guidelines are to be shut down immediately by the task force on enforcement led by Dr Solomon Ogunji who will work with LGA enforcement teams led by TC Chairmen and Divisional Police officers.
Members of the LGA enforcement team include the following:
a. Transition Council Chairman – Leader
b. Divisional Police Officer – Deputy Leader
c. LGA Head of Service
d. LGA Traditional Rulers Council Chairman
e. LGA Education Secretary
f. LGA Health Authority Secretary
g. All Community Youth Leaders
h.. Head of Abia Vigilante Services
4. LGA enforcement teams are to ensure that those holding burials, other ceremonies, church worship streams and sundry gatherings comply with previously issued guidelines.
5. To strengthen cooperation between medical institutions in the state in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, a protocol sub committee has been set up to review and domesticate WHO and Nigeria Center For Disease Control (NCDC) protocols on response and management of any outbreak with a view to aligning with existing health infrastructure in the state.
The members of the sub committee which is expected to report back to the Commssioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, within 48 hours include:
a. Dr Ejiro Carol Iwuoha (Chairman)
b. Dr Ugochukwu Onyeonoro
c. Lady Peace Nwaogwugwu (Secretary)
d. Dr Ijeoma Nduka
e. Dr Michael Enyinnah
f. Mr Chidi Aligwe
g. Chief John Okiyi Kalu
6. All borders leading into the state are to be actively monitored and visitors screened before entry.
A sub committee on border surveillance has been set up with the following members:
a. Mr Joe Chinwendu (Chairman)
b. Prince Dan Okoli
c. Dr Cosmos Ndukwe
d. Dr Onyechere Nwokocha
e. Mr Bright Chinedu Ikeokwu DCP
f. Major Abubakar Jauro
g. Cmdr Nnamdi Nwanuku
7. In preparation for envisaged lockdown, the Governor has approved the setting up of a food security sub committee to plan necessary palliative interventions in case of a prolonged lockdown. The members of the committee are as follows:
a. Chief John Okiyi Kalu (Chairman)
b. Mrs Ukanwa Nwakanma
c. Hon. Jerry Uzosike
d. Pastor Okechukwu Dike
e. Hon. Stella Igbokwe
8. We note with pleasure that on the basis of the directive of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu the ministry of finance has commenced payment of civil servants with 50 MDAs already paid today while others including pensioners will be concluded by Monday, 30th March, 2020.
9. It is highly recommended that citizens and residents ensure they wash their hands regularly with soap and water, stop non essential movements and report suspicious individuals who entered from outside the state through the Abia Telehealth number: 0700 2242 362.
10. Buses popularly known as Ochendo bus and others of same capacity are hereby directed to henceforth carry only a maximum of 14 passengers per time. Similarly, motorcyclists who are only to ply designated rural communities are to carry only one passenger as well as observe necessary personal hygiene and protective measures.
11. Traditional Rulers in the state are hereby directed to ensure full compliance with the guidelines on burials and gatherings of all kinds in their communities or risk appropriate sanctions.
12. From Tuesday, 1st April, 2020, full lockdown on movement, inter-state borders and markets will come into effect in the state for an initial period of four weeks, subject to weekly reviews. Within this period, all citizens and residents are expected to stay at home with only food and grocery sellers allowed to operate in front of their houses. Further guidance will be issued in this direction in due course.
13. We strongly encourage all Abians and residents to maintain good hygiene through regular washing of hands with soap and running water, use of original hand sanitizers when available as well as maintenance of social distancing as strongly advised.
It is important to reiterate that while the state remains COVID-19 free, the administration will continue to proactively take necessary measures based on our regular assessment of threats to protect our people, and in the event of an unlikely outbreak, control the spread. Those who fail to abide by the issued guidelines will certainly have themselves to blame.
Barr Chris Ezem
Secretary to State Government
Dr Joe Osuji
Honorable Commssioner for Health
Prince Dan Okoli
Honorable Commssioner for Homeland Security
Chief Chijioke Madumere
Honorable Commssioner for Science & Technology
Chief John Okiyi Kalu
Honorable Commssioner for Information
FOR: Abia State Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19