Magnus Eze, Enugu, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri and Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Abia government has relaxed its lockdown of the state to allow christian faithful participate in Easter celebrations.
Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, disclosed this in a statement,yesterday, in Umuahia.
Ezem said the new directive would allow free movement of people only within the state beginning from 6am on April 10 to April 12 at 2pm.
He said the initial directive of the seven-day extension of the lockdown would continue from 3: pm on April 12 to April 17.
According to him, residents would be allowed to worship at their various churches and mosques, but must strictly observe the guidelines issued by the state government.
Ezem said the guidelines made provisions for congregation not exceeding 50 persons per stream of worship and the maintenance of social distance of 1.5 meters.
“All worshipers must wear face masks while churches and mosques must provide a minimum of four points for hand washing with running water and soap. Hand sanitizers must also be provided at different points for the use of intending worshipers. The State and Local Government Enforcement Teams and Security Operatives shall continue to move around to ensure strict compliance,’’ he said.
He said the relaxation order did not include public gatherings, such as burial ceremonies, weddings, meetings, clubbing and that the initial order on these activities remained valid and subsisting. In a related development, Governor Hope Uzodimma also announced the relaxation of the lockdown in Imo to enable residents shop for food items for Easter.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumba, said food markets and vending supermarkets would be allowed to operate from 6am to 6pm.
He urged the public to adhere strictly to the time allowed and ensure that they shopped only for food items.
He said boutiques and all other non-food markets and outlets should remain closed.
“It should be emphasised that the free day is for only shopping for food items and does not permit any other form of public gatherings for religious service. Our Muslim and Christian faithful should, therefore, note that they can only worship online or through the electronic media.
“The total lockdown of the state resumes with full force from Saturday April 11. Security agencies are under firm orders to ensure that the lockdown order is strictly adhered to and those caught in violation would be promptly arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
In Ebonyi, Governor David Umahi has permitted burial ceremonies to hold between April 9 and April 20, even as he intensifies efforts to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus in the state.
The government had suspended burials and other social gatherings as part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Uchenna Orji, said the decision was part of resolutions at the state Executive Council’s extra-ordinary meeting held on April 8.
Orji explained that organisers of such funerals must, however, notify the state Ministry of Information and Orientation in writing.
“The burials must be attended only by family members of not more than 20 persons and the organisers must provide hand sanitisers, nose masks, running water for hand washing, among other precautionary measures. The government shall send representatives to such burials to ensure that the precautionary measures are complied-with,” he said.
The commissioner also disclosed that the state government had released N1billion for the purchase of 400,000 bags of 5kg rice and other foodstuffs as palliatives.
“The fund will also be used for the production of 400, 000 nose masks as a take-off palliative for the vulnerable groups in the state. The governor during the meeting, directed the immediate disbursement of N2 billion Medium Enterprises (SME) facility for the empowerment of youths and women in entrepreneurship and vocational programmes,” Orji said.
He also said that any pastor or officiating minister who failed to enforce the precautionary measures for the conduct of Easter service would be prosecuted.
“This will be in accordance with the Ebonyi Coronavirus and Other Dangerous (Infectious) Disease and Related Matters Law 06 of 2020,” the statement said.
Umahi had approved that church services could hold on Easter Sunday alone.
CMD lauds Emeka Offor over donation of equipment
The National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu (NOHE) has lauded philanthropist and oil mogul, Emeka Ofor, for the donation of critical medical equipment tot he hospital through his foundation.
Daily Sun gathered that the Emeka Offor Foundation donated 40ft container loaded with medical equipment and consumables worth millions of naira to the federal health facility.
Chief Medical Director of NOHE, Dr. Cajetan Nwadinigwe, listed the items received by the hospital to include x-ray ventilators, multi parameter patient monitors, hospital furniture and medical face mask as well as plasters, dressing and suture materials.
He said it was not the first time the institution would receive support from the foundation, as the offer Foundation in 2006 constructed a storey building with 25 rooms in-suite, which serves as the amenity ward of the hospital.
The CMD said t before now, there was nothing like amenity ward in the hospital a situation which had denied it some high profile client who would have loved to be treated locally in a convenient place with all the facilities as in a hotel.
Dr Nwadinigwe assured that the hospital would utilise all the items given to them judiciously and also give account at any point in time.