THE governors of the South East states, under the aegis of the South East Governors Forum (SEGF) have been urged to unite and adopt the same measures and approach in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
A pan Igbo socio cultural group, Imeobi Igbo Forum made the call in Onitsha, Wednesday in a statement signed by the National Chairman Dr Mike Ikegulu and National Secretary Chibuike Nwabueze.
The group acknowledged the efforts of the governors so far and the sacrifices of Ndigbo toward curtailing the pandemic, and implored them to unite by pooling resources for the purpose of ensuring that the virus doesn’t find a foothold in the South East states.
The statement noted that the call on the governors is because “we feel that without unity, the desired results may not be achieved. Already, they have a platform through which the governments can act on behalf of the people
“We have noticed that on the lockdown, each state has a policy different from the other. For example, while Anambra is in lockdown, Imo is in partial lockdown. We are asking for a unified total shut down of the South East for two weeks as an interim measure.
“Markets and workshops for essential trade should be open coupled with vehicular movements at specified hours of the day. Imeobi Igbo Forum urges the governments to mass produce free cloth face masks for distribution to the people for regular use.
“We should adopt a stance that will ensure total closure of the interstate borders. This will end the illegal transactions going on at the moment, which allow interstate vehicular movements at night despite the measures.
“I’d doesn’t seem that Ndigbo have fully appreciated the dangers of COVID-19; we have to unite and handle it with the seriousness required. People are still shaking hands, hugging and gathering in quiet places and living their lives normally. These are not normal times. They should be made to follow the directives of government and medical experts.”
Admitting the need to raise more avenues for funding, the group advise the governors to use the SEGF to solicit for and manage funds while calling on Igbo philanthropists to respond to support the calls for financial support.
It stated: “Our spirit of being our brothers’ keeper should be brought to play. A committee of governors will give more confidence to donors and ensure equitable and corrupt free management of the funds.
“We advice that this fund be augmented with security votes because we are now in a state of health insecurity. Relief materials from this and other efforts should be distributed to the people through the town union in the South East so that it will get down to the grassroots and be devoid of discrimination.”
Imeobi also urged the Governors’ Forum to call on the Federal Government to “release the grains or cash due of the South East as a matter of urgency because our people cannot be locked in to starve. We urge our people to show love to one another and desist from the using the challenges to make abominable profits from the sale of foodstuffs and other goods, thereby worsening an already bad situation.”
Lauding the governors on their response in erecting facilities for the management of COVID-19 patients, the group hailed the commitment of health workers despite inadequate motivations.
They therefore called on various “state governments to provide commensurate hazard allowance for health workers as incentive for more dedication.”