By Patrick Obia
As Governor Ayade of Cross River State continue to make the headlines by calling on the Federal Government to allow local airports to start operations, Coalition of Civil syociety Organizations (CSOs) in Cross River State has responded to the out cry of the Governor, saying it is not necessary looking at the closure of the land borders and the increase cases of the pandemic.
Senator Ayade on his verified Twitter handle said:
As the nation grapples with the impact of coronavirus on the economy, the loss of jobs in the private sector and the negative spiral effect on small businesses and service providers, another 4wks closure of the airspace will worsen the economic situation of that category
— Sir Ben Ayade (@senatorbenayade) May 10, 2020
Reacting to the call, the coalition through its convener, Comrade Adim Gabriel while fielding questions on Hit95.9 FM regular Sunday program “The Dialogue With Agba Jalingo” said of what benefit will it be if the land borders are closed and reopen the air borders adding that with the proliferations of the borders its already alarming, coming to reopen the local airlines will be something else.
Adim lamented the poor state of said Tinapa premier isolation center and further warned that, though the State has not recorded any case of the virus, doesn’t mean they should go to sleep and should be on top gear, also calling on the citizens to compliment Government efforts in observing the precautionary measures put in place in keeping the State COVID-19 free.
“For me I think it is not necessary. The Government of Cross River State calling on the Federal Government to open the commercial flight is not necessary. If you ask me, of what benefit is it, are we looking at the negative impact of opening? We need to first of all look at even the borders we claim we have shutdown, are they really working. When you are talking about let us shutdown the border and you open the flights, of what benefit are we looking at. If you open the flight where is this flight going to be landing and where will they bring in people from? If you look at Lagos today it is the center of coronavirus in Nigeria; definitely the flight will shuttle Lagos, shuttle Abuja; for me it is not necessary. For now I think the only thing is Government should still hold on before we can think of reopening the air borders.
“Cross River State do not have it does not mean we should go back to sleep; I will like to commend the efforts of the Government so far. Recently we heard some Almajiris that some people were trying to traffick them into Cross River by trucks and the task force team were able to intercept them but can we say that approach is enough, you look at Cross River State, it shares border with Benue State, look at Ebonyi, Akwa lbom State is there; go down the corridor of Cross River National Park, there are nineteen communities, from Oban to Cameron border, when you go down to border town of Ikang at Bakassi are all porous. These are areas the Government still need to step up their approach so that we won’t put our state in jeopardy thinking that we don’t have a case.
“As a coalition, we visited there (Tinapa premier isolation center) with our team and we confirmed as when we visited the center we saw some beddings by the State Government, hundred pieces of bed kept there. We were not convinced, that was one of the things that formed our communique. From the gate of Tinapa, it doesn’t depict an isolation center. The place is unkept totally so we frown at that and we had to put a call to the commissioner for Health. If you are talking about isolation center that is going to be hosting victims who are hoping to recover from a global pandemic, I mean there are more to be done. You look at the place was not kept, no electrification as when we visited, there are no toilet facilities, nothing apart from the beddings we saw. For us we are also making our findings to ensure those things are put in place and that is the essence of our coalition coming together to join hands with the Government and say look, the way you are going you will not get out of it.
“While we are calling on the Government to step up their approach, the citizens should try their own best to ensure we respond to Government effort. I see no reason why citizens on their part will disobey government orders; government says movement stops from 8PM. For whatever reason you have the whole day and twenty hours to tidy up whatever you need to do.” He ended
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