COVID 19: Uzodinma orders partial lockdown of Imo, bans open religious worship, closes all markets

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, on Saturday ordered a complete lockdown of the state as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to the state.

Uzodinma gave the order in a state broadcast in Owerri.
He said the move was in line with his commitment to protecting the lives of the people of the state.

The governor ordered that all markets be closed indefinitely and also prohibited all forms of marriage ceremonies.
He also announced the ban on burial and funeral ceremonies and declared that all forms of religious worship in churches and mosques, including crusades and open evangelism are prohibited.

Uzodimma further directed that roadblocks be mounted at all land borders into the state to ensure those coming in would be screened and given a clean bill of health by officials attached to the checkpoints.

He also directed all civil servants in the state, except those on approved essential duties, to stop work immediately.

He said a combined team of military, police and other security agencies would be deployed to the streets to ensure strict compliance with the directives. (NAN)

Below is complete text of the broadcast;

 

BROADCAST TO IMO PEOPLE BY THE GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE, DIST SEN HOPE

UZODIMMA ON FURTHER MEASURES TO PREVENT COVID-19 FROM GETTING TO IMO STATE

Ndi Imo Umunem na Umunnam, I extend my warm greetings to all of you. When I addressed you a week ago on the measures the government had taken to prevent the dreaded COVID 19 disease from entering our dear state, I also assured you that I will be updating you, as regularly as possible, on developments and the additional measures we may take if and when the need arises.

This address is in fulfillment of that promise. We thank God that so far there is no recorded or confirmed case of the disease in Imo state. We have been working round the clock to ensure that all the necessary safety precautions are strictly adhered to in the

state.

The special committee on covid-19 headed by Prof Maurice Iwu, for the prevention of the disease in the state has been very effective in discharging its duties. So far, so good. Be rest assured that the government is on top of the situation and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that COVID-19 does not cross the boarders of Imo state.

However given the fact that more and more people across the country are being infected with the disease almost on a daily basis and given that up to 70 persons have already been confirmed as having the virus, we cannot afford to rest on our oars nor take anything for granted.

Eternal vigilance and strict adherence to the norms of safety must remain our watchword.

In this regard I wish to reiterate my earlier advice that the best safety measures against the disease are social distancing, regular

washing of hands with soap, sanitizing our hands regularly as well as periodic check of our temperature to be sure that it is not above 38 degrees Celsius.

Consequently, and because of the rising number of those infected by the disease all over the country and in line with our determination to ensure that we do everything humanly possible to prevent the disease from entering Imo state, it has become expedient for the government to take further measures to ensure that Imo is safe from the Coronavirus

pandemic.

In this respect, a team of specialist doctors are now ground and well equipped to handle any emergency just in case the disease finds its

way into the state. These doctors can effectively treat any infected person. In addition the ministry of health is embarking on immediate training of community health educators who will be deployed to our rural communities to regularly enlighten our people on how to stay safe from the virus.

Government has also provided sanitizers to all the local government areas to ensure that those who may have reason to come out are

regularly sanitized. Equally sanitizers will be sent to all communities through the traditional rulers for distribution to the people. The public health educators that will go round the communities will have enough sanitizers to sanitize the hands of those they come

in contact with.

As I have always emphasized, the key to the prevention of the disease is by strictly restricting public gatherings. This is the only way to ensure that our people are not exposed to close contacts with otherpeople.

Consequently and following our earlier notice a week ago to relevant stakeholders, the following measures are to come into effect

from Today, Saturday, March 28th till further notice:

1 All markets are closed indefinitely.

2 All forms of marriage ceremonies prohibited.

3 All forms of burial and funeral ceremonies are banned.

4 All forms of open religious worship, church or mosque, are equally

prohibited. This includes any form of crusade or open evangelism.

5 All boarders into Imo state are to be barricaded with road blocks manned by a combined team of security agencies and health officials who will ensure that necessary health checks are carried out on anyone entering the state before he or she is granted entry.

  1. All civil and public servants are directed to stop work immediately,

except those that on approved essential services.

A combined team of the military, the police and other security outfits will be deployed to patrol the streets to ensure strict compliance with these directives. These measures may cause some inconvenience or hardship to us but

they are inevitable if we are to succeed in our efforts to prevent the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic from coming to our State. As I said in my first broadcast on this issue, there is no cause for either alarm or panic. Yet the need to do all we must do to prevent the disease from coming near us cannot be overemphasized.

We must therefore make the necessary sacrifices to remain safe. I appeal for your understanding and cooperation. These measures will be reviewed on a weekly basis and if it becomes necessary to relax them or to take more measures we will act accordingly.

My beloved people of Imo state, I want you to be rest assured that this administration will always be at your service. Nothing will be

spared, time, resources or comfort, to ensure that you are safe and that you remain safe.

There is no denying the fact that we are passing through a very dangerous time occasioned by the worldwide corona pandemic. Every policy directive and action we have taken as a government has only one

objective: To protect our people and safeguard our children. That is the primary duty of every responsible government. Have courage my

dear Imo people. Have faith! Have hope! We shall overcome for God is with us.

Thank you all and God bless!

Sen. Hope Uzodimma

Governor, Imo State

March 28, 2020

 

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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