By Okon Bassey
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has said that the state government has so far spent close to N1 billion in the fight against the Covid-19 in the state.
Speaking during a press conference in Uyo on Tuesday, the governor stated that the state government had received monetary donations and equipment from individuals and corporate bodies, adding that the figure would be made public at the appropriate time.
Emmanuel hinted that the federal government had also sent 1,800 bags of custom bonded warehouse rice to the state as palliatives for the lockdown, but regretted that the rice may not be suitable for human consumption.
Pointing out that the rice has shown serious signs of decay, the governor said the product would be subjected to scientific test to ascertain whether or not it should be distributed to the citizens.
“For the relief materials from the federal government, we got 1,800 bags of custom bonded warehouse rice. That gift is not good for me to distribute to my citizens. We have sent it for test, but it doesn’t look good enough for consumption,” he stressed.
According to him, the Covid-19 pandemic met the state prepared.
“100 per cent of the equipment at Ibom Specialist Hospital, including the 13 ventilators were bought before Covid-19.
“We have set up an additional isolation centre in Ibom Specialist hospital, with oxygen and everything; bought an additional 1500KVA generating set for Ibom Specialist hospital.
“We have a modern digital, functional situation room for every single test analysis and close to 50 medical experts who are manning them.
“As at today, everyone in Akwa Ibom who has met the criteria of case management in accordance with NCDC guidelines has been tested. I challenge anyone who has experienced Covid-19 symptoms and has been refused testing, to come out and say so,” he said.
The governor stated that the state has 407 medical doctors and 2,000 nurses to help in the fight of Covid-19; and paid tributes to health workers in the state who are cooperating with government to fight the disease.
“My heroes are the medical workers who have volunteered, who have exposed themselves to risk to ensure that they work during this critical season in order to make sure they manage this cases well. I am eternally indebted to these ones,” he said.
Emmanuel debunked the rumour that some members of his State Executive Council have contacted Covid-19 and were secretly treating themselves.
The governor, who came with all his Exco members, said: “Normally, on a day like this, I would not have loved to bring out my entire Executive, but I want to show the whole world and try to let people know that the bulk of what they read and hear are pure blackmail and has nothing to do with Covid19; and when I talk people may think we are trying to be defensive.
“In the past days, I have been receiving calls that my EXCO members, some say nine, some say 11 have tested positive and probably in their houses being treated of Covid-19.
“I want to let the whole world see that bulk of what they read in the past few weeks are based on nothing but blackmail. I am here with all the EXCO members with none of them with any symptom, with all of them healthy and hearty.
“84 specimens have been collected so far. We have only three active cases. Our recovering rate has been marvelous, the recovering cases are good. All the people waiting in the isolation unit have all gone home.”