Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River, says he has handed the state over to the federal government as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
Speaking on Thursday when he met with members of the COVID-19 task force team, the governor said under his watch, Cross Rivers did its best to record any case.
He said now that the federal government had lifted the ban on interstate travel, it would be difficult to contain the disease.
Cross River is the only state where any case of COVID-19 has not been officially confirmed in the country.
Although there have been controversies over the claim that the state is free of the disease, Ayade’s government has insisted that the measures it put in place has made the state not to record any case.
At Thursday’s briefing, Ayade thanked the task force team and even made a cash donation to the team. “As a general treatment protocol, in hospitals in Cross River state, people are so well trained and equipped with public enlightenment. This accounts for one of the reasons for the zero COVID-19 case in the state,” Ayade said.
“Mischief makers are wondering why Cross River which is surrounded by COVID-19 infested states is free from it but they forget that Coronavirus is not politics, it is not a political issue but a biological issue and therefore, can be contained, can be dealt with.
“I thank Mr.President for being on top of the situation, I thank the Federal Ministry of Health for their efforts too. I am happy that the NCDC was very generous with their appreciation for our efforts and that is why I don’t also hesitate to commend them because we have never had pandemic before but here we are.
“I will like to commend all our citizens too. And now that our state borders are open, this is the time for us to actually be scared and be more careful, this is the time that we are in real danger. This is why we have to intensify the use of nose masks. This is time for us to increase our vigilance.
“Now, I have no control. I have officially handed over Cross River to the federal government control as far as COVID-19 is concerned because I can’t close my borders anymore, I don’t have control over the airspace. So, whatever happens going forward, I wish to say kudos to Cross River and Cross Riverians for being a state and a people that walked through this big challenge and ended up victorious.”
According to the situation report of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for June 10, 2020, the south-south state had only tested nine samples out of its over four million population, while neighbouring states have recorded cases and are battling community transmission.
In a statement on June 13, the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said there was an increase of unusual deaths from an acute respiratory disease.
In June, Godwin Akwaji, lawmaker representing Obudu constituency at the state house of assembly, died at UCTH after showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Last week, Ikpeme Ikpeme, chief medical director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), said a patient tested positive for COVID-19 in the hospital.
But Beta Edu, the state commissioner for information, maintained that there is no record of any COVID-19 case in the state.