Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Abia State Government has accused security personnel operating in the state of aiding some residents of the state to disobey the COVID-19 lockdown directive of the state government. This is even as government has disclosed that the relaxation of the lockdown as announced by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, was yet to be officially effective.
There was confusion in Umuahia, the Abia state capital when some commercial bus and keke operators who operated freely in the city on Monday, were turned back from the streets by security personnel on the excuse that the lockdown directive was still in force.
Speaking in an interview, the state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu said the state government was not happy with some security personnel operating in Aba and how they were aiding people at Ama Hausa (Mosque Street/Hospital Road) to engage in trading activities even late in the night.
Okiyi-kalu stated that government had it on good authority that equally under the watch of the security personnel, some traders had been bringing clothing materials from Kent Street in Aba to sale at the same Ama Hausa and said this negates the Federal and state governments’ directives on COVID-19 lockdown and curfew to check the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said it was unfortunate that a federal government security outfit would be involved in acts that work against efforts by governments to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Checks by our correspondent revealed that during this COVID-19 lockdown, soldiers had always been regular visitors to the Ama Hausa area of the city which is noted for its night bustling business.
Meanwhile, Okiyi-Kalu has warned residents of the state against flouting the state government’s lockdown directive, indicating the order was still in force until the committee on COVID-19 which he said was presently meeting, comes out with modalities on how the governor’s directive on the relaxation of the lockdown would be implemented.
Okiyi-Kalu said one of the modalities for the relaxation to become effective was that market and transport union leaders in the state must sign an undertaking with relevant government officials that their members would abide by the guidelines spelt out by the government to check the spread of the virus in the state.
Okiyi-Kalu said the law would not take it kindly with anybody who disobeys the government’s directive and urged security operatives to be alive to their responsibilities.