COVID-19: Uzodinma ignores directive on social distancing, holds elaborate swearing-in ceremony

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Ahiajoku Centre... During the swearing-in ceremony

…As Civil Society kicks

Barely 48 hours after the Imo state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma addressed Imo people in a statewide broadcast urging strict compliance to social restrictions, the government has flagrantly violated its own rules and the federal government’s directive on social distancing.

This followed an elaborate swearing-in ceremony Monday morning, which drew appointees and well-wishers from across the state to the Ahiajoku Conference Centre, New Owerri.

In a swift reaction, Civil Society groups have called for the dismantling of the event and the immediate dispersing of the crowd of attendees as such elaborate ceremony was clearly ‘insensitive and condemnable’.

However, the crowd that thronged the Ahiajoku Conference Centre defies all sound medical and emergency counsel attendant to the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic.

Though there was a sanitizer and testing team at the entry gate but the crowd of more than 1000 persons sitting and standing in close proximity largely places attendees at the function at a great risk of contacting the virus.

.Ahiajoku Centre…The crowd in the hall for the swearing-in ceremony

Not even the police teams at the venue lived up to their responsibilities as they hung around doing nothing in clear violation of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adam’s directive the previous day to AIGs and Commissioners to enforce the social restriction orders across the country.

Much the same way some schools in the state capital were still in session by Monday morning with the police doing little or nothing to enforce the IGP’s directive. 

By 11:30 am, the hall at the Ahiajoku Conference Centre was still packed with people waiting for the arrival of the governor for the commencement of the swearing-in ceremony and totally oblivious of the health risk. 

Sadly, only very few attendees had their face masks on while the vast majority were clearly oblivious of the urgency of the time.

Commenting, Dr. Jude Ohanele of Development Dynamics described the elaborate swearing-in ceremony as condemnable. 

He maintained that considering the global emergency occasioned by the rapid spread of the COVID-19, that it was a dangerous gamble to gather such crowd in a closed space for a mere swearing-in ceremony. 

“This gathering is absolutely unnecessary because the swearing-in ceremony could have been held at the Executive Council Chambers with just the appointees. For a people that is mindful of the global health emergency, the  COVID-19 represents, it is reckless to gather such a crowd and it should be dismantled with immediate effect.

“It is even more unfortunate that the same Governor who addressed Imo people last Saturday urging residents to comply with safety measures and directing social distancing is at the helm of the this sad event. 

“This also speaks volume of how far apart our leaders are from their words. What they say is clearly at variance with what they do and that is most unfortunate. It is our hope that the event would not further spike the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Source: New Telegraph

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