COVID-19: Imo State Eases Lockdown From May 3 As Borders Into The State Remains Shut

*Senator Hope Uzodimma of Imo State at a state function recently

By Andrew Onyejuruuwa

Sen. Hope Uzodimma, the Imo State governor has technically relaxed the lockdown in Imo State, which he ordered as one of the ways of combating the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state. The state has been lucky because till date, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed only one COVID-19 case in Imo State. But States like Lagos and Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja are the worst hit areas in Nigeria.

Uzodimma’s state broadcast, which coincided with the 2020 Workers’ Day celebrated nationwide in low key as a result of the dreaded disease opened markets, supermarkets and churches from 6:00a.m to 6:00p.m. from Sunday May 3, 2020. Recall that the Federal Government in a nationwide broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari had also started a gradual easing of the lockdown imposed on Lagos State, Ogun State and the FCT from Monday May 4, 2020.

We present the full text of Uzodimma’s speech:


My good people of Imo State, once again I salute you for great faith and patience in giving this administration your unalloyed support through the teething challenges that confronted us from the very first day of our inauguration. The sad incidence of coronavirus pandemic has not made our job easier. Yet you have stood by us in swallowing the painful pills of the stringent measures imposed by a lockdown of activities in the state.

I thank you, my beloved Ndimo, for the enormous sacrifices you have made during these four weeks of a general cessation of economic activities in our dear state. It was never my desire that our people should suffer unduly for what is not their fault. However, because we are at war with an unknown and unseen enemy, there is need for extra vigilance. We have a duty to keep our people safe from this most frightful, yet unseen enemy, otherwise called Coronavirus. The call to duty informed the lockdown and other stringent measures, we have imposed, for the safety of everyone.

You will recall that I promised a periodic review of these measures. I address you today in fulfillment of that promise.

Before outlining the details of the review of restrictions, let me first salute Nigerian workers on this auspicious occasion of workers day.  I salute the patience and understanding of all workers in the country in the face of the COVID 19 challenge. Imo workers, especially the state wing of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) have been most understanding and cooperative in this teething period of our administration. I truly appreciate you all. Let me emphatically state that the welfare of workers remains a top priority of this administration. Inspite of the initial delays in salary payments occasioned by our determination to ensure that workers entitlements are not hijacked by a few unscrupulous payroll fraudsters, I assure our workforce that they will have course to smile continually.

We must all understand that although we have not suffered any deaths from corona virus, COVID 19 is a reality and we must continue to observe all the necessary safeguards even as I ease some of the restriction that we have put in Place. In this regard I wish to announce that effective Sunday May 3, 2020 all food markets and food vending supermarkets and pharmaceutical shops are permitted to open for business.  Large markets will however remain shut.

Massive disinfection of major public places such as markets and public squares is currently on going and will end on Saturday. This informed the date of Sunday as the effective take off date for easing of some of the restrictions in place. However, all boarders into the state remain closed. This means that there is no entry into or exit from the state. In. the unlikely event that any person manages to gain entry into the state, he or she must immediately report to the COVID 19 taskforce for mandatory checks and quarantine. Those who illegally gain entry into the state and those who assist or harbour them shall be arrested and prosecuted.

The wearing of face masks is mandatory by the law of the state. Consequently, any person caught without face mask shall be arrested and prosecuted. Also, effective Sunday, May 3rd, 2020 public gatherings not exceeding 50 persons at a time shall be allowed. However, the rule of social distancing must be strictly adhered to. If such gatherings must hold, there must be sufficient provisions for bucket stands for regular washing of hands in running water.  Hand sanitizers must also be made available for regular use by the people so gathered. Equally every person in the gathering must wear face mask.

The dusk to dawn curfew in the state remains in place. Meaning that there should be no movement from 6pm to 6am everyday till further notice. It is my sincere hope that the decision to ease restrictions shall not be abused by our people by abandoning the recommended safety measures of regularly washing our hands in running water, sanitizing our hands regularly and maintaining social distancing. Let me emphasize that above all wearing of face masks is a must for every occasion. Once again let me assure you that I share in your pains and frustration. More importantly I also share in your optimism that by God’s grace we shall overcome COVID 19. Yet we must help ourselves so that God can help us. Thank you all and God bless all of us.

Sen. Hope Uzodimma, Governor, Imo state. Friday, May 1, 2020

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