COVID-19 enforcement team chases erring clerics, worshippers from Akwa Ibom churches
CP demotes officer for assaulting medic, apologises to NMA
The Akwa Ibom COVID-19 enforcement team, led by CP Imohimi Edgal, has chased erring clerics and worshippers out of churches in the state over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The police chief warned the denominations flouting the sit-at home-order of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration, stressing safe distancing as directed by the Federal Government, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other leading organisations championing the curtailment of the novel disease.
However, it was observed that the usual activities heralding the Palm Sunday were absent, as about 80 per cent of churches within the metroplolis did not conduct services in deference to the lockdown.
However, a police officer, Sergeant Alexander Edidiong, who beat up a medical personnel, Dr. David Daniel Edet, has been demoted to Corporal.The decision was contained in a statement issued by the Police Public Relations Officer for the state command, Nnudam Frederick, in Uyo.
Following the Saturday’s assault on Dr. Edet of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) while on his way to work, resident doctors in the state had threatened to go on strike within 48 hours if the police officer in question was not publicly reprimanded.
According to a statement by its president and secretary general, Drs. Paul Walshak and Ekemini Bassey, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) chapter in the medical institution maintained that the medic was assaulted after he had duly identified himself.
They insisted: “The doctor had identified himself with his identity card that he was on his way to the hospital, but Sgt. Alexander Edidiong refused to let him pass the road block mounted along Nung Oku junction to enforce the restriction of movement issued by the state government which exempted healthcare workers on essential duties.
“Despite the pleas by Dr. David (Edet), Sgt. Edidiong got angry and used a big stick to strike Dr. David (Edet) on his left forearm leading to a fracture of the left wrist which was confirmed by an x-ray.”
Nevertheless, the statement issued by the police spokesperson stated: “Sgt. Alexander Edidiong attached to Safer Highway allegedly assaulted the doctor at Nung Oku junction where he was on duty.
“The CP had ordered his arrest and detention. The erring officer, who has been in detention, was subjected to orderly in line with the Police Act and Regulations, and was found guilty by the adjudicating officer.
“The orderly room proceedings were reviewed and he was reduced in rank from Sergeant to Corporal.
“Also, the CP has met with the chairman of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and chairman of the resident doctors association and the victim where he apologised to the entire members of the NMA Akwa Ibom State branch for the unwholesome act/conduct of the police officer and assured the victim of the required medical attention, and enjoined them to continue to work with the police in this trying time in order to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Besides, the Forward Operating Base (FOB) of the Nigerian Navy at Ibaka in Mbo Local Council of Akwa Ibom State has said its intensified patrols along the borders of Akwa Ibom and neighbouring countries had effectively check influx of migrants into the state.
In a statement yesterday in Uyo, the base’s Commanding Officer, Captain Peter Yilme, said the move was part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in the state.