Anambra during the Lockdown

By Chioma Ndife

Human activities returned to normalcy in Anambra State on the 4th of May, following the relaxation of the lockdown earlier imposed by Governor Willie Obiano to curtail the spread of coronavirus pandemic, otherwise known as Covid-19, in the state.

The lockdown which had grounded social and commercial activities across the state, took effect in Anambra State on the 23rd of March, 2020, causing hardship on the populace, especially among the low income earners.
In a bid to cushion the effects of that hardship, the Anambra State Government had taken various palliative measures.

After the suspension of schools, nightclubs and bars, weddings, funerals, ofala ceremonies and other social events that bring people together in one place, the State Government mounted a massive media campaign to enlighten the public on preventive measures to ensure that people stayed safe during the lockdown period.

Government also closed the state’s boundaries with neighbouring states, the major markets in the state, as well as motor parks.

The closure of markets, according to Governor Obiano in one of his broadcasts, helped the government to fumigate the 63 major markets in Anambra State, while the traders were at home. The process was aimed at reducing the toxicity of the business environment and minimizing the exposure of people to different kinds of infections, especially the #COVID-19.

Isolation Centres were also set up and equipped with facilities that met with WHO standards in different zones in the state, with the provision of two surge centres to man any eventualities. The centres included Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku-Awka; NYSC Orientation Camp in Mbaukwu/Umuawulu; General Hospital, Onitsha and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi; while Ekwulobia General Hospital and Umueri General Hospital served as the Surge Centres.

In the area of Economic Stimulus Package for the vulnerable, 200 bags of rice meant for persons from 70 years and above, were distributed to each of the 181 communities in Anambra State and another 400 bags of rice per community were also distributed to the youths.

Ten Percent relief on all income taxes was also given to all businesses in Anambra State for the Year, 2019 for easy adjustment in the pandemic situation.
Similarly, a two-month waiver was given to Keke, shuttle and bus operators, including the leadership of the Tricyle Union, Bus and Shuttle Bus Drivers Union in the state, on the usual permits they paid. The grace period was to cushion the sudden fall in their income occasioned by the restricted number of passengers they were expected to carry at a time during the lockdown period.

To ensure that schoolchildren were not adversely affected by the closure of schools, the state government migrated classrooms to radio, television and Facebook through partnership between the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) and the Ministry of Basic Education. The idea was to meet the educational needs of the children with a programme titled “Anambra Teaching on Air”.

To ensure food availability after the lockdown, the state government secured 3000 hectares of arable land in the agricultural belt of the state, ordered for 7 tractors to be deployed in the cultivation of large scale farming during the planting season. This initiative was expected to take over 2000 youths off the labour market.

Equally, women and youths would be employed with the provision of cages for poultry and feedstock for birds, while agricultural inputs were distributed at subsidized rates to farmers.
Contributing, the Anambra State House of Assembly successfully passed the Anambra State Covid-19 Law which was assented to by the Governor.

As a result of Covid-19 situation which calls for acts that will renew and restore faith in humanity, the Governor granted the Prerogative of Mercy to, and released 54 prisoners from the four correctional facilities in Anambra State.

Today, with the relaxation of the lockdown, all boundaries with neighbouring states still remain closed, according to Governor Obiano’s directive. He stated that only vehicles conveying essential commodities and supplies should allowed to enter Anambra State after a proper check and confirmation by security agents.

Fides investigation however revealed that the boundary between Anambra and Enugu States have remained porous as people pay security operatives at the boundary to gain access to the state.

The State Governor has also granted permission for people in the State to bury their loved ones but with strict compliance to the Covid-19 protocols, noting that there should be no fanfare and that attendance should not be more than 30 family members.

Correspondingly, people bringing the remains of their loved ones for burial in Anambra State must ensure that the corpses are buried on the same day of arrival into the state. The grave must be ready before the corpses arrive at the boundary of Anambra State.

The relatives of the deceased who accompany the corpses home must also proceed on 14 days of self-isolation.

COVID-19 training was also organized for all the market leaders in Anambra State before the markets were opened to ensure that traders and buyers in the market complied with WHO directives. This however seemed not to be the case when Fides visited most of the markets in the state.

In the fight against the deadly virus, the state government has set up two potential Covid-19 Testing Centres in the state. Governor Obiano urged the management of NCDC to expedite action on the accreditation and approval process to ensure the immediate use of the facilities.

The Anambra State Government also announced the commencement of the distribution of three million masks to residents in 181 communities in Anambra State. The Igwes and the PGs were meant to assist the government in profiling the tailors in the various communities that would help in mass-producing the masks for distribution to members of the various communities.

 

Isolation Centres were also set up and equipped with facilities that met with WHO standards in different zones in the state, with the provision of two surge centres to man any eventualities. The centres included Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku-Awka; NYSC Orientation Camp in Mbaukwu/Umuawulu; General Hospital, Onitsha and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi; while Ekwulobia General Hospital and Umueri General Hospital served as the Surge Centres.

In the area of Economic Stimulus Package for the vulnerable, 200 bags of rice meant for persons from 70 years and above, were distributed to each of the 181 communities in Anambra State and another 400 bags of rice per community were also distributed to the youths.

Ten Percent relief on all income taxes was also given to all businesses in Anambra State for the Year, 2019 for easy adjustment in the pandemic situation.

Similarly, a two-month waiver was given to Keke, shuttle and bus operators, including the leadership of the Tricyle Union, Bus and Shuttle Bus Drivers Union in the state, on the usual permits they paid. The grace period was to cushion the sudden fall in their income occasioned by the restricted number of passengers they were expected to carry at a time during the lockdown period.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*