Government, in addition to the free distribution of essential medical and other palliative goods, will also take steps to intervene in the markets to ensure price stabilization and reduction in selling price of goods using her relevant Agencies. This is to ensure that those who are unable to get the free items do not buy them at astronomical costs.
18. Dear Abians, It has been painfully brought to our notice, the fact that our traders and other service providers, have resorted to astronomical increase in the prices of their goods and services and I wish to state that this development is simply unacceptable. Government has mandated its Agencies responsible for Consumer Protection to go round sales outlets and take necessary steps against all traders and service providers who have increased their prices without reason. This is the period we are expected to showcase our humanity and be our brother’s keepers and not an occasion to seek to exploit our hapless and helpless brethren. All those involved in these shameful practices are directed to cease forthwith or an example will be made of them.
19. Let me also call on Abians to cease panic-buying and stockpiling of petrol, kerosene and other petroleum products as they are available in stations which are exempted from the lockdown. Keeping petroleum products in the house exposes occupants to the risk of fire outbreaks and we need everyone to remain safe.
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE RECEIVED SO FAR
20. In the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, I wish to acknowledge the following individuals and groups who have donated to our COVID 19 Committee.
i. United Bank for Africa who Donated N28.5 Million
ii. National Centre for Disease Control, Abuja donated 2,500 Nose Masks and 20 PPE Packets
iii. Nigerian Breweries Plc Donated 125 Litres of Hand Sanitizers and soft drinks
iv. Abia State University has donated 1,000 Hand Sanitizers
v. Prof. Gregory Ibe who donated 850 Bags of Rice, 3 Ambulances and joint research on Vaccines and curative medicine at the Gregory University
21. Permit me to provide a breakdown of what we are doing with the donations received so far.
i. The N28.5 Million from UBA will be used to set up a Laboratory at Abia State Specialist Hospital, Umuahia for the study and testing of medical samples in Abia State.
ii. The Nose Masks and PPE equipments from NCDC will be handed over to our first responders and medical workers for their safety.
iii. The Hand sanitizers and soft drinks from the Nigerian Breweries will also be handed over to our Officers in Charge at our 722 Health Centres in Abia State
iv. The 1,000 Sanitizers from the Abia State University will be added to the ones procured by the State Government and distributed to the general public through Churches and Community Associations.
v. The 850 Bags of Rice from Prof. Ibe will be distributed as 50 bags to each of the 17 LGAs in Abia State and we are adding them to the existing food in our food bank for distribution to those most in need of them.
22. I wish to at this juncture thank all well-meaning Abians and Corporate Organizations who have made donations to us to help us fight this. I also commend those who have pledged one form of assistance or the other towards the containment of this disease. This is a good time for all of us to band together, devoid of political gimmicks and grandstanding, to confront a common enemy who will not ask our leanings before striking. I also wish to request that all donations towards this effort be channeled through the Government Coordination Committee with Secretariat at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government. This is to ensure proper coordination and to ensure that the people who truly need the materials get it.
My dear Abians, I wish to use this opportunity to pay special tribute to our health workers who have been at the forefront of managing this pandemic. Officials of government, security agencies, our inter-ministerial coordination team and health workers have been working round the clock to ensure that we are safe and I am proud of the work they have done so far.
I wish to once again plead for us to remain calm and exercise collective responsibility at this critical period. Let us eschew every rumour and the spread of unverified stories around this virus. Let us also ensure that we do not speculate or engage in self-help within this period. If you suspect that you have symptoms or you suspect that anyone around you is showing symptoms of the coronavirus, kindly access the closest health facility for proper handling. Let us also avoid self-medication for preventive or curative measures. It is very important that we only take actions prescribed by qualified medical and health practitioners.
I am implicitly confident that we have what it takes to handle this situation. We are God’s Own State and I have no doubt that God will look upon us with mercy and bring this situation to an end in the shortest possible time.
While trusting God to keep us, let us do our part by observing recommended personal hygienic practices and abiding by lawful directives within this period.
Government will continue to monitor the situation, keep everyone updated on relevant information and take steps where necessary, to cushion the effects of the situation on the people of Abia State.
Together, we shall defeat this. We are all united in confronting it and this too shall pass.
May God bless you all and may God continue to bless Abia State.
Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D, FNES
Governor, Abia State
Wednesday, April 1, 2020