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Ayade releases N500m, 20 vehicles in response to pandemic

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As part of measures to tackle spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Cross River State Governor, Benedict Ayade has approved the release of N500m for the state’s COVID-19 Response Team.

The team, which was inaugurated yesterday by Ayade at Government House, Calabar with 20 vehicles to support its operations would, as part of its mandate, safeguard the state against the global scourge.

Ayade appealed to the Federal Government to accord the state special attention, as a result of its strategic border location.

He said, “Cross River is an international border state and with the incident in Cameroon, I urge President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, to consider and treat Cross River in a peculiar way. We need Federal Government’s obvious and express attention.”

He charged the team headed by Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, to ensure that all preventive measures against the spread were adhered to, saying it was his administration’s desire to ensure that Cross River remained COVID-19-free.

Ayade charged the task force to be dynamic in discharging its duties, saying, “There is no unanimity about the history of this global pandemic, but in Cross River, as a state governed by two professors, we must find ways and provide direction at the sub-national level.

“It is, therefore, our desire to ensure that Cross River continues to maintain zero incidence as far as this pandemic is concerned.

“We are hereby setting up this taskforce whose core mandate is to guarantee full implementation of the lockdown of our borders to ensure that medicines, food supplies and welfare packages are made available to our people.

“We are sensitive to the challenges of locking down a state where people have barely earned their last salary, therefore, the social sensitivity of the lockdown must reflect in our subsequent actions. Against this background, I’m setting up the taskforce with subcommittees to realise a COVID 19- free Cross River.”

Governor Ayade also lamented the effect of partial lockdown on the people of the state, but assured of palliative measures to cushion the effects, adding, “We have recalled workers at the garment factory for mass production of face and nose masks to protect our citizens.

“The closure of our borders has come with adverse consequences for our people, but I have a moral obligation to give our people protection. It is with a huge sense of burden and spiritual consciousness that I have a responsibility to those who, in search of their daily living, have been affected by the border closure.

“Therefore, it is against this background that I’m asking the Chairman of the taskforce to expedite action in ensuring that in all the border points, proper screenings must take place so that all those who are free must get necessary medical supplies-sanitisers, nose masks and hand gloves, among others,” he added.


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