Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has said since there will be life after the COVID-19 pandemic, there is the need for government to protect not just lives but also livelihoods.
The governor warned that protecting lives without protecting livelihoods of Nigerians will spell doom for the nation after COVID-19 as hunger will be the next deadly virus.
He explained that the reality is the reason his administration is protecting lives as well as livelihoods.
“Globally, hunger and hunger-related diseases like kwashiorkor and tuberculosis kill about 8.4 million people every year and so there is more pandemic when it comes to hunger.
“So, we will do all we can to curtail the pandemic from spreading to our state and protect lives too but protection of lives without the protection of livelihoods is a complete imbalance. There must be a holy matrimony between protection of lives and protection of livelihoods.
“Some of our brothers and sisters depend on daily work. If you carry blocks for a living, the day you are stopped from going to work, there will be no money to feed the children,” he said.
He said it was for that reason that he is opposed to a total lockdown of the state, preferring instead to allow people carry out their businesses once protected with the appropriate nose mask.
He said COVID-19 will not stop his administration from focusing on its agro-industrialisation drive, adding that the state-ultra modern rice seeds and seedling factory was unrelenting in producing rice seedlings at this time.
According to Ayade, Cross River was ready not only to feed its citizens but also the entire nation during and after the COVID-19 lockdown.