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Health experts flay government’s inadequate action, seek partial shutdown in Akwa Ibom

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• Bayelsa CJ orders suspension of court sittings

The Coalition of Health Professionals in Akwa Ibom State has expressed dissatisfaction with measures put in place by the state government to contain the spread of COVOD-19, describing them as inadequate.

In a communiqué issued after their meeting in Uyo yesterday, the coalition, comprising the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Akwa Ibom State chapter, charged Governor Udom Emmanuel to enforce partial shutdown in the state to contain spread of the pandemic.

Other groups that signed the communiqué are, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN).The communiqué, which was signed by chairmen of the associations, Dr. Nsikak Nyoyoko (NMA), Patrick Odu (NANNM), Dr. Akwaowoh Akpabio (PSN) and Mrs. Emilia Eliezer (AMLSN), urged the state government to establish surveillance screening posts at all entry points.

“The coalition calls on the government to immediately apply a partial shutdown in Akwa Ibom and set up surveillance screening posts at all entry points in the state.“All motorists should fill surveillance forms and be screened at those points. The leadership suggests that all civil servants from Grade level 12 and below should be directed to stay at home except those on essential duties.

“The leadership calls on the government to enforce social distancing by banning all social gatherings of over 50 persons in line with directive of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19. We appeal to religious leaders and members of the public to cooperate with government,” the communiqué stated.

In a related development, the Chief Judge (CJ) of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, has ordered immediate suspension of court sittings for two weeks in the first instance.
Abiri gave the directive in a statement issued by Head of Media and Information of the Bayelsa Judiciary, Julius Nyananyo in Yenagoa.

She said the suspension was in line with directive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko-Muhammad, as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Justice Abiri added that the directive was aimed at protecting judges, magistrates, other staff members and litigants from contracting the disease, insisting that the courts would only be open for urgent matters, essential or time bound cases in accordance with extant laws, while calling for understanding from the litigating public.


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