The headquarters of Nollywood may be moving to Uyo in the next few days if the action of the state government is anything to go by.
Having neglected the voice of wisdom to close the state borders on time as done in other states (including neighbouring Cross Rivers and Rivers), Commissioner for Health, Dominic Ukpong, questioned the credibility of the 5 recently confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), citing “a disturbing breach in the test and reporting procedure.” This development is in spite of the fact that about 160 medical officers (doctors) employed by the state government in September since they resumed work in December, coupled with state government’s earlier insistence that there was no need to shut schools one week before the commencement of the scheduled 2nd term holiday.
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu in response on Thursday, said there was no reason to dispute the validity of the results, as the tests were carried out at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, which he described as the country’s oldest and most experienced lab in carrying out PCR diagnosis.
Information coming from the state this evening however, reveals that Governor Udom Emmanuel has now announced a total cessation of movements and prohibition of events of any kind for 14 days to enable a thorough process of contact tracing, just 3 days after state workers were directed to stay at home for a week.
This is a’right but late step’ and one cannot but ask; what was the government thinking initially? Could it be that they mistook the results for election results or some persons mistook the news for the script for a comedy skit? Whichever way, the lives of citizens should not be put at risk and the government has to do all that is responsible fast.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.