A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Cross River State, Hon Cletus Obun, has decried the absence of coronavirus test kits and Isolation Centres in the Northern part of the state.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Calabar, Hon Obun, who is also the APC Vice Chairman, Central Senatorial District of Cross River State, lamented the absence of these sensitive materials to curb the dreaded coronavirus in the area.
“Our fear of contracting the virus is heightened by the absence of testing kits and Isolation Centres in these remote and inaccessible border towns and villages. Even if the Centres or testing centres exist there is neither information nor access to it.
“The Cross River Radio station in Ikom is the major source of information, but from evidence available, the station is very epileptic due to funding challenges,” he said.
Hon Obun said the state government should urgently act now by sending officials with kits to border communities from the Ranch, Amana and Sankwala in obanliku, Bumaji, Butatong, Bashu, Ogbangante, Danare, Biajua, Orimekpang in Boki, Abia, Agbokim, Ajasor, Etara in Etung, Ekuri, Ekong Anaku, Old Ndebiji and Oban in Akamkpa .
Obon said that he just got a report from Bumaji, a border community with Cameroon, that crisis was brewing up there.
“The Youth president, Benedict Anama and the vigilante group accosted a lady who was coming into Bumaji from Okwa which is the last Boki community to Cameroon at the Obonyi axis in Manyo Division in South West Province in the Republic of Cameroon.
“The region is one of the 5 affected in Cameroon. Presently, Cameroon has 658 COVID-19 infected patients. We don’t know if the Cameroonians coming into the community have the virus. The villages and towns on both sides are too close (some are less than 2km) and have daily social and commercial interactions with each other.
“The officers must identify and reach the community leaders directly. The traditional rulers can be of help. No intermediaries. The leaders should be given emergency — intervention training. Also, available health workers and volunteers should be mobilised and trained on how to detect and manage cases.
“The vigilante groups and/or Youths and community associations should be fully engaged in the enforcement order” he pleaded adding that the governor, Prof Ben Ayade should treat this matter with all utmost urgency.
“As I write this from my lockdown base in Abuja where I have been trapped after some TV programs. Youth leader Comrade Ben Anama is enforcing the border closure with the Vigilante Group.
“No service provider is available in the area except a spot under a tree on the farm path. Getting to the place, Bumaji from Okwa is very difficult. Bikes and trekking are the ready means of transportation to most of the border communities
“Provision should be made for support to the vigilante groups in these communities. Bumaji should be the starting point since there is an existing situation Face masks, food and other palliatives should be distributed to the community-based groups.
“Governor Ayade has already warned the federal government about the peculiarity of Cross River State in the battle against the pandemic. The governor’s warning is coming to manifestation thereby confirming Gov Ayade’s farsighted understanding of the pandemic.”