By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The five governors of the South East of Nigeria have been advised to take more drastic steps to safeguard the region by closing all their state borders.
Worried by the plight of ordinary citizens in the region, the group also called for the establishment of a regional COVID-19 intervention fund, where all sons and daughters of South East extraction could donate funds to provide succour to the residents of the region during the lockdown and equip hospitals.
The President and National Coordinator of the pan-South East pressure group, Chief Willy Ezugwu who made the appeal in a statement on Sunday said it has been very expedient that the governors close the borders to avert major calamity waiting to happen if there is a community outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus disease in the east.
“Following the upsurge of confirmed COVID-19 cases, particularly in the north, a total lockdown of eastern borders has become very necessary to keep the South East region safer and ensure that Coronavirus disease does not spread any further in the states.
“For those who are yet to take the pandemic seriously, the death of the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari should have driven home to fact that COVID-19 is not a respecter of class or personality. Both the poor and the rich have died from the disease.
“We are at war with a global pandemic that has claimed lives in their thousands even in countries with sophisticated health system.
“In every war situation, drastic measures only are taken with a view to coming out triumphant.
“We commend all efforts the governors have taken so far to curtail the spread of the dreaded disease in the region.
“It’s cheering to receive the news that Enugu State Government has successfully managed the cases in the state and have discharged all patients.
“Imo State have been able to remain free from the pandemic, just as Abia, Ebonyi and Anambra states have done exceptionally well.
“However, it’s said that prevention is better than cure. In view of the present realities, one of the most needful preventive measures at this moment is a total closure of all eastern states borders with other states”, SERG stated.
On establishment of regional intervention fund to provide cushion the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown in the South East states, the SERG reminded “the governors in the region that it has become most expedient now that the federal government tactically excluded the South East from any meaningful palliatives disbursement.
“The reality is that the South East region is an abandoned geographical area by the federal government, with little or no attention paid to the people of the zone.
“Our hospital lack the capacity to handle high number of infections and through the regional pool funds, the South East can begin to equip hospitals in the zone ahead of any eventuality.
“When established, we urge all sons and daughters of the South East extraction with means, both at home and abroad, to donate generously to the fund to assist governments in the zone to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic”, the group pleaded.