Bayelsa State Government has warned those compromising its border control measures towards curtailing the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 in the state to turn a new leaf or face the wrath of the law.
The Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo handed down the warning at a meeting with members of the Local Government COVID-19 Teams led by the eight council chairmen at his office in Government House Yenagoa.
Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo expressed concern over reports bordering on the influx of people into the state following the Federal Government’s directives on the gradual easing of lockdown in some states of the federation.
He said the state government had placed more emphasis on preventive measures due to the peculiarities facing the state, stressing that the facilities on ground would not be able to manage any massive outbreak of the virus as currently experienced in Lagos and other heavily impacted states.
His words: I’m just coming from another meeting where I had reports that there is now very high influx of strangers into our state. This is because of the porous borders we have in the state.
“People are now running from places that experienced total lockdown to where they will have freedom of movement. These are people you don’t even know their virus status and our people are encouraging them to come in.”
“We don’t have the kind of capacity Lagos have, but still they are finding it difficult to cope with the situation in their hands despite the N10 billion support from the Federal Government.”
“That is why I urge every one of us including security agencies manning our borders to take Government’s preventive measures seriously. As at today, Lagos has over a thousand cases. But if Bayelsa gets even 500 cases, it will be difficult for us to handle”.
While appreciating security agencies for their efforts, the deputy governor urged them not to rest on their oars, noting that so much still have be done in policing the porous borders of the state.
He advised those who are planning to travel to Bayelsa on the heels of the Federal Government’s phased lockdown directives to have a rethink as more stringent border control measures were being put in place.
According to him, Bayelsa is compliant with the Federal Government’s guidelines on lockdown including the mandatory use of face masks in public places and prohibition of non-essential interstate travels and services.
The meeting which later went into a technical session identified flashpoints in communities that require strict border control and screening teams in all the local government areas.
Such communities include Ayamasa, Aleibiri, Isampou, Ekeremor Town, Aghoro, Beautiful Gate and Agge in Ekeremor local government area.
The flashpoints in Yenagoa are Ikarama, Polaku, Yenegwe, Opolo and Agbura, while Igbedi, Odi, Kaiama, Sabagreia, Opokuma and Sampou junctions were listed for Kolokuma/Opokuma area.
Sagbama has Adagbabiri, Elemebiri, Trofani, Ofoni, Angiama, Ebedebiri, Sagbama Town, Agbere, Anibeze and Angalabiri.
Other communities that require effective border policing are Angiama-Igeibiri, Amassoma, Oporoma, Ekeni, Koluama and Swali Market to screen those travelling to Southern Ijaw Local Government.
The meeting which had in attendance the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Inodu Apoku, the Executive Secretary, Bayelsa State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr Bekesu Martin’s also identified Okarki and Oruma communities as some of the porous borders in Ogbia Local Government.
Flashpoints in Brass include Fish Town, Ibidi, Odioma, Twon, Sangana, Kongho, Bekekiri, Egweama, Okpoama and Ogbokiri, while Obioku, Oluasiri, Okoroma, Igbetawoama, Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri were pencilled down for Nembe.