Cross River State has pleaded with the Federal Government to assist it financially in securing its borders against the novel coronavirus.
Chairman of the State COVID-19 Response Taskforce and Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, who appealed while updating reporters in Calabar, stressed that the move has become imperative against the backdrop that Cross River is bordered by neighbors who are currently contending with the disease.
She listed them as Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Benue and the Republic of Cameroun.
Reiterating that the state was yet to record an index case, the commissioner refuted reports on the social media that the President Muhammadu Buhari government had supported Cross River with N500 million and N240 million to fight the epidemic.
“I, as the state Commissioner for Health and also Chairman of the COVID-19 Response Taskforce, can boldly say that the state is yet to receive any support from the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) or the Federal Government,” she asserted.
Edu went on: “We are appealing not just because it is a state, but because it is a critical state. We are in the middle of so much crisis going on all around us.
“Being a state that is surrounded by neighbors like Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Benue and the Republic of Cameroun which are already battling to contain the disease, it will be foolhardy for us to fold our hands and allow the disease overpower us.”
“Our need, for the time being, is not a 300-bed Isolation center or 100 ventilators. What we need now is funding to completely shut our borders against Cameroun with over 1000 cases and the states that have recorded many incidents.
“The government is spending so much on the borders. We pay security task force, vigilantes, community youths and other millions of naira daily to run shifts at the gateways to prevent the importation of the disease into the state.”
She added that the Governor Ben Ayade administration was planning to engage 1000 health surveillance and notification officers to comb the communities, noting that the logistics for the onerous task as well the daily allowances of the personnel were burdensome.