Henceforth, Akwa Ibom Government has pledged to enforce the directive “no face mask, no trading” in markets located in the state as part of the measures to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic among the people.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who read the Riot Act, warned to mete out severe sanctions against persons exhibiting non-chalant attitude in adhering to the safety measures and protocol, especially wearing of face mask in public, social distancing and others.
Speaking during a security council meeting for the management of COVID-19 in the state on Friday, at Government House, Uyo, he lamented that “The most common non-compliance which is wearing of face mask will be strictly enforced, no exceptions, no plea. We appreciate the slogan of traders in all their markets, ‘no face mask, no trading,” he stated.
Ekuwem, who is also the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State COVID-19 Management Committee, said “This is a forum to re-emphasize and state clearly once again the Riot Act over the lackadaisical attitude on the part of some of our citizens to obey and keep the guidelines and protocols as enunciated by the COVID-19 Incident Management Team, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). That we will no longer for the public health of Akwa Ibom State tolerate any attempt by any citizen not to abide and comply with those guidelines.”
He warned that in the transport sector, commuters (including tricycle riders and mini buses) are not exempted as these guidelines are applicable to them, while inter-state movement remains closed, adding, “those who ride keke, motor-cycles and mini-buses must wear face mask.
“We want to reiterate that the state government ban on borders remains in force. There is no inter-state movement no coming into Akwa Ibom State borders remain closed except for essential services mainly foodstuffs and construction materials for the essential projects going on in the state and for medical reasons too otherwise do not even go towards the border with a view of pleading to cross the border there will be no mercy for anyone who wants to cross the border,” he emphasized.
The SSG frowned at non-compliance of some persons to the curfew imposed in the state from 8 p.m to 6 a.m, and warned that the curfew is still in force, maintaining that on no account should anyone use the guise of transporting foodstuffs or building materials during the curfew.
The Chairman, Akwa Ibom State COVID-19 Management Committee, observed, “This is a Riot Act that we have to comply with the guidelines and protocol as enunciated by the incident management committee. It is for the good of all. You are not doing anybody any favour by wearing a face mask; you are doing yourself a favour, members of your family and the larger society.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel did not enunciate these guidelines and protocols as vindictive measures. He means well for us and wants to develop the state; we cannot allow this contagion to infect our people and weaken the economic vessel of Akwa Ibom State,” he noted.
Other highlights of the Riot Act are enforcement of curfew to be more vigorous from 8 p.m – 6 a.m. and closure of all inter-state motor parks while defaulters are to be apprehended according to the law.