Friday, July 3, 2020 2:46 pm
*Urge Governor Wike to relax burial directives to decongest mortuaries.
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
A group of activists in Rivers has expressed concern over the piling up of corpses in mortuaries across the State due to delay in securing approvals from government for burials.
The group made the observation at a recent Covid-19 Situation Room meeting in Port Harcourt called to review the implementation of the protocols against the pandemic in state.
The group faulted the policy announced by State Government directing that anybody who wants to organize burial or other ceremonies must first get approval from the Governor will delay burials.
The actvists argued that the Governor will be too busy to have chance attend to such approval requests as a result of the busy schedules of the office.
” What is expected is that the Government should workout guidelines on how burial and other ceremonies should be conducted in line with National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, rules instead of asking bereaved families whose deceased are still in the mortuaries to come and apply for clearance before burial”.
The group urged that the Government to publish and publicize all guidelines on newspapers, social media, news bulletins and on leaflets in the streets.
The Situation Room als draws government’s attention to the influx of persons, most notably northern youths, into the state despite inter-state boundary closures that are in place. This portends dangers to the state as the status of the persons who are being smuggled into the state are not known in their statement jointly signed Stevyn Obodoekwe, Chairman, Sebastian Kpalap, Co- Chair, Karl Chinedu Uchegbu Spokesperson, Green Isaac Secretary Prince Ekpere, Co-Secretary and Vivian Bellownu, Convener.
They commended the decontamination of public places embarked upon by the the state government, but called on the government to fast track the exercise and extend same to all the markets that are still shut down.
“The meeting expressed worries over the continued closure of the markets, which have been closed for over 3 months. Many commodities may have expired or spoiled, while rents paid are wasting. The continued closure of the markets, which are sources of survival and livelihood for many families, have push such families into immense suffering, hardship and economic crisis,” the group said while urging government to safe the people from the hunger pandemic, which the closure of the markets has brought to many families by opening the markets without further delays.
“Members of the group emphasized that government should do all within its powers to reopen the markets so traders whose only sources of livelihood come from there so that they will be able to get back on their feet, feed their families and pay for their rent.
The group said mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that such markets are not over-crowded. It added that there should be provisions of sanitizers, running water and personnel who will monitor compliance of the protocols at all the entrances to the markets.
“The group’s situation room notes that, while the lockdown of the markets may have helped in containing the community transmission of the virus, it has further given birth to mushroom markets across almost all the major streets in Port-Harcourt which could end up in spreading the virus, thereby defeating the essence of the closure of the markets.
” The Situation Room also asked Police authority to stop incessant arrest and harassment of citizens because of face mask even when they are walking alone on the street as against wearing.”