A PRESS STATEMENT BY HIS EMINENCE, NTEYIN (DR.) SOLOMON D. ETUK, JP, CHAIRMAN, AKWA IBOM STATE COUNCIL OF CHIEFS, OKU IBOM IBIBIO AND PATRIARCH OF IBIBIO LAND ON THE WORLDWIDE CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC.

LET’S COLLABORATE WITH GOVERNMENT TO STAY SAFE AGAINST COVID-19

On behalf of Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, I wish to express our royal felicitations to all Akwa Ibomites, Nigerians, foreign nationals and the world at large.

The plague called corona virus disease 2019 otherwise branded as COVID-19 has rattled human existence in a manner not known in recent world history. From Wuhan in China, where it started, COVID-19 is today not only reported all over the globe but is terminating human lives at a very devastating rate.

Reports by CNN have it that over 601,478 people have now been confirmed with the corona virus globally, while more than 27,862 have died. In Nigeria, Covid-19 cases have risen to 81 as at Friday, March 27, 2020 with only one confirmed case of death. However, these statistics change by the day. But we pray that instead of increasing, it will be decreasing.

To create awareness towards preventing and stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemics in our clime, particularly in Akwa Ibom State, traditional rulers interfaced with relevant stakeholders vis-à-vis the State Ministry of Health on Thursday, March 12, 2020 where the State Health Commissioner, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, briefed royal fathers on measures put in place by the Akwa Ibom State Government as well as our expected role in the process.

As a step in that direction, I have directed all traditional rulers to join forces with the Akwa Ibom State government on all occasioning proactive measures put in place, including lockdown in the State, as well as personal and respiratory hygiene guidelines as earlier announced in the fight against COVID-19 to be strictly maintained.

These measures includes but not limited to:

a) Social distancing

b) Avoid shaking of hands

c) Avoid hugging people

d) Keep distance of at least six feet from anyone who is sneezing or coughing

e) Stay-at-home order should be observed

f) Regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, etc.

In addition, the following telephone numbers: 08028442194; 08037934966 and 09023330092 have been provided to report any suspicious case or health challenge(s) to relevant authorities for action.

The directive to the traditional rulers covers Paramount Rulers, Clan Heads and Village Heads. Accordingly, they are expected, as a matter of urgency, to go round their respective domains to carry out sensitization on their subjects. Part of the outreach process is to use Town Criers to boost information dissemination and enlightenment of the people.

Our traditional rulers are also directed to ensure compliance with the one (1) week stay-at-home directives by His Excellency, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

As a State dedicated to God, it is our firm belief that this pestilence shall pass away as recorded in Psalm 91:3-6 thus:

“Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

“Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”

Let me use this occasion to call on all indigenes of Akwa Ibom State – the political class, public servants, businessmen, professionals, corporate organizations, churches and in deed all residents, to collaborate with the Government to abide with the safety measures so far announced, and to mount awareness campaigns and provide funds and kits towards fighting this dreaded disease. It should not be left entirely for the State Government to handle. All hands must be on deck.

Let me also call on Health Professionals in the State to give maximum cooperation to the Government while also urging health authorities to effectively incorporate them in their plans and actions; since they are the core workers in the fight against the pandemic.

I equally call on the media in the state to consider the sensitivity of the COVID-19 disease by partnering relevant authorities to disseminate accurate and factual reports on the trends. We are in an unusual time; there is no need for discordant tunes from any quarter. Let us encourage Governor Udom Emmanuel and the administration in this fight against the corona virus pandemic.

As a Council, we will continue to support the Government to sustain its laudable programmes in the health sector by further procuring equipment and facilities needed in this direction. We equally expect commiserate support from the Federal Government to States to boost their health safeguards. Let us unite, every life is precious.

As ever, we submit to the Almighty God for His divine protection against this deadly disease or any other. May God bless us all.

His Eminence, Nteyin (Dr.) Solomon D. Etuk, JP,
Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs,
Oku Ibom Ibibio and Patriarch of Ibibio Land

Issued today, Saturday, March 28, 2020

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