Ndi Anambra ekenem unu.
I am here to update you on the on-going global war against the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the efforts we have made so far to flatten the curve on this virus and shut it out of Anambra State.
As you may recall, my last broadcast on this pandemic was on March 19, 2020 when we took our first decisive steps against this menace by announcing the suspension of schools, nightclubs and bars, weddings, funerals, ofala ceremonies and other social events that bring people together in one place.
Update on Testing and Results:
Here is an update on what has happened since my last broadcast. In Anambra State, we respect our experts. My Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala has reliably informed me that at this moment in time, our dear state does not have a single recorded case of Coronavirus. Six samples have so far been sent for testing and four of the samples were declared negative. The results of the other two have not been released yet. We have sent three new samples today for testing.
Please note that samples are usually taken from what the experts call CASE DESCRIPTION. Case Description is a situation where an individual who has just returned from any of the countries and cities that have serious Covid-19 cases begins to show symptoms of Coronavirus… or a situation where someone who has come in contact with people suffering from Coronavirus begins to show symptoms of the pandemic. These symptoms are usually cough, runny nose, fever and a difficulty in breathing. Samples are usually taken from such people and sent to the testing center. So, far, Anambra is safe. But we shall continue our efforts in testing to ensure that Coronavirus does not take us by surprise.
Update on Isolation Centers:
We have successfully set up a 250-bed Isolation Center at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Mbaukwu/Umuawulu and another 16-bed Isolation Centre at the General Hospital Onitsha. By the Grace of God, I shall commission both centers tomorrow. The Onitsha Isolation Centre has been described as one of the best in the country today. At the same time, the Isolation Center at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku-Awka is being fitted out to standard just in case we have an outbreak.
Meanwhile, we have two Surge Centers at Ekwulobia General Hospital and Umueri General Hospital. Ndi Anambra, I am happy to announce the Management of Fidelity Bank and the Management of Access Bank have both volunteered to equip the Surge Centers at Ekwulobia General Hospital and Umueri General Hospital with a 60-bed facility each that meets the World Health Organization standards on Coronavirus. I have been assured that both facilities shall be up and running within one week. On behalf of Ndi Anambra, I express my profound gratitude to Fidelity Bank and Access Bank for their kind gesture.
Economic Stimulus Package:
Ndi Anambra, our response to the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic is multi-dimensional. We have mounted a massive awareness campaign on all media platforms to enlighten our people on the threat of Coronavirus. We have closed our boundaries with neighbouring states and shut down our 63 major markets in Anambra State to flatten the curve on this virus. We have set up Isolation Centers and equipped them with facilities that meet WHO standards. And finally, we have also rolled out an Economic Stimulus Package to cushion the effect of steps we have taken against the virus on the most vulnerable members of our communities. We have commenced the distribution of 200 bags of rice to each of the 181 communities in Anambra State to be distributed among our senior citizens from 70 years and above. In communities where we have more than 200 people within the specified age bracket, distribution shall start from the oldest to the youngest in the age bracket.
Beyond that, we have also given a 10% relief on personal income taxes to businesses in Anambra State for the year 2019. This means that if you have been paying your taxes regularly, you will get a 10% refund of the entire sum you paid in 2019. I have no doubt that this will be of great help to businesses in the state.
Interventions from the Private Sector
Our call for assistance from corporate bodies and successful Ndi Anambra has started yielding results. So far, we have received the following donations in cash and equipment from the following people –
UBA Plc – N28, 500,000
Ibeto Petrochemical – N10m
J I Ejison of Ejison International Ltd – N5m
Chief Ken Nwogbo – N5m
Chief Ejeson Ukeje – N5m
Chief Daniel Chukwudozie of Dozzy Oil – N2m
Senator Victor Umeh – N2m
His Royal Highness, Igwe Gerald Mbamalu, Igwe Ojoto – N1m
Ezeemo Godwin Chukwunenye – N500,000
Obinna Okechukwu Nwosu – N3000
7Com Enterprises N2000
Dr Ernest Audialor Obiejesi – 4000 Facial Masks and 900 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
Other illustrious indigenes of the state that have pledged to assist the government with Personal Protection Equipment and other medical supplies are Chief Engineer Arthur Eze, Dr Cosmas Maduka, Chief Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson), Sir Emeka Offor, Chief Chidi Anyaegbu (Chisco), Emma Bishop Okonkwo (Ekulo Group) and Chief Allen Onyema (Air Peace).
Ndi Anambra we are still appealing for donations to boost our capacity to overcome the threat posed by this pandemic. We especially need ventilators and Personal Protection Equipment like gloves, goggles for the eyes, apparels and masks. We shall appreciate any intervention that will strengthen our capacity in these areas.
What we shall do next
Ndi Anambra, we are determined to strengthen our campaign against Coronavirus in our dear state with the following measures –
1. We shall soon commence the distribution of 3 million masks residents of Anambra State 181 communities in Anambra. The Igwes and the PGs will assist the government in profiling the tailors in the various communities that will help in mass-producing these masks for distribution to the members of the communities. Our intention in handing out 3 million masks is to ensure that after the 14-day shutdown of the state, no one will step out of their home without wearing a facial mask. The Czech Republic is relying largely on a heavy use of facial masks to minimize the incidence of Coronavirus in its territory. These masks shall be made by our own tailors carefully selected from each of the 181 communities of Anambra State. The modalities for the manufacturing and distribution of the masks shall be worked out and announced subsequently.
2. We shall also commence the fumigation of the 63 markets in Anambra State while the traders are at home. This will help to reduce the toxicity of the business environment and minimize the exposure of our people to different kinds of infections.
3. We are giving a two-month waiver to Keke and shuttle bus operators in the state on the usual permits they pay. The grace period covers the months of April and May, 2020. The leadership of the Tricycle Union and the Bus and Shuttle Bus Drivers Union have also given a two-month waiver to Keke and Shuttle bus drivers. I hope that this will cushion the sudden fall in their income occasioned by the restricted number of passengers they are expected to carry at a time these days. This is also a part of our Economic Stimulus Package for the vulnerable.
4. To ensure that our children are not adversely affected by the closure of schools, we have migrated our classrooms to Radio, television and Facebook. A partnership between the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) and the Ministry of Basic Education is meeting the educational needs of our children with a programme title “Anambra Teaching on Air.” Visit the ABS website for further details.
We are Ready:
Finally, Ndi Anambra, learning from the experience of the approaches adopted by France and Lagos in battling this pandemic, we have stockpiled the medicines used in managing outbreaks in both places in case we experience an incident here. I therefore urge you to be calm and ensure adequate compliance with the standard directives on Covid-19 which includes – wash your hands regularly with soap, use hand-sanitizers regularly, cough and sneeze into your elbows, put on a face mask while going out and most importantly; stay home and stay safe!
Before I end this broadcast, I must not fail to thank the entire business community in Anambra State for complying with our directive on Coronavirus. I must also thank the owners of schools, the church, the civil society and traditional rulers who have lent their voices to the enlightenment campaign on coronavirus in their various domains. My gratitude also goes to the members of the Task Force on Covid-19 who have been working day and night to get our dear state ready and of course the Service Commanders of the various security agencies in the state who have been helping us to enforce the standard Covid-19 protocol in the state.
In conclusion, Ndi Anambra, I urge you to see the threat of Coronavirus as the greatest threat to us all as one people under God. I urge you therefore, to come together as one and shut out this pandemic from Anambra State. Ndi Anambra, we can do it if we truly come together. In the words of American auto icon, Henry Ford, “coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress but working together is success.”
I have no doubt that if we all wash your hands regularly with soap, use hand-sanitizers regularly, cough and sneeze into your elbows, put on a facial mask while going out and most importantly; stay home and stay safe, we shall win this battle and eventually win this war!
God bless Anambra State
God Bless Nigeria.
Thursday, 2nd April, 202