Joe Effiong, Uyo
Senator Chris Ekpeyong, representing Akwa Ibom Northwest (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State, has raised an alarm on the seeming lack of Public Health Guidance on COVID 19 pandemic as it relates to Nigeria’s Correctional Facilities and IDP camps across the country.
According to the senator, Nigeria has over 250 already congested correctional facilities with about 74,000 inmates and around 28,000 staff who are not only at great risk of contracting the virus with the potential to jeopardize Nigeria’s effort at containing the rapid spread of the deadly disease.
Speaking at Ikot Ekpene Hall while dispensing empowerment packages to his constituents from the 10 local government areas making the senatorial district, Ekpenyong also expressed concern over the existence of more than 1.9 million displaced persons in 245 IDP camps and over 2000 other sites where displaced persons are residing.
He said the vulnerable population would need special attention as a matter of national health security.
“There is an urgent need for the government through the Presidential Tasks Force for the control of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), to quickly issue effective, scientific and methodical health guidance on the COVID 19 pandemic as it relates to the affected nearly 2 million inmates and IDPs at risk across the Country.
“My team of experts is already on ground and has just concluded a health risk assessment of the district. It was one of the red flags it raised with regards to the correctional facilities in the district.
“I will be most happy to share our findings and support the tasks force and the state government by providing our draft copy of a Public Health Guidance on COVID 19 pandemic outbreak as it relates to the correctional facilities and IDP Camps within my district and State.”
He further advised the task force members to relate directly with community-based institutions in guiding them on how to monitor the affected Nigerians.