Consequent upon the coronavirus outbreak, about 1,400 Nigerians are said to be stranded at the Calabar-Itu bridgehead, which is the boundary between Cross River and Akwa Ibom States , following the order by Governor Ben Ayade that all entry points into and out of the state be shut.
The directive was enforced by law enforcement agencies at all the entry points.
Numerous families in Calabar who wanted to relocate to their home towns in Akwa Ibom and those that returned to Calabar were all held up at the foot bridge as the road was blocked.
Mr Sunday Ufot Akpan and five other family members who were returning to Uyo in obedience to the lockdown directive said there were long queues of vehicles on both sides of the bridge, waiting and pleading with the security agents to be allowed passage to their destinations.
“The number of people at the boundary bridge can be estimated to be over 1400 that pleaded with the security, taskforce to be allowed to cross over.
“The security officers were not friendly. They kept us for over five hours, refusing to allow passage into or out of Cross River. They asked if we were not aware of the restriction on movement as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in the world.
“However, at about 5pm the long queues of vehicles were allowed to pass”, he explained.
Reacting, Cross Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, expressed concern that people were not conscious of the virulent nature of the virus and therefore tended to take the lockdown order with levity.
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NOSDRA Yet To Discover Cause Of Dead Fishes On N’Delta Coastline
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), says it is yet to establish any link between oil leaks and death fishes that float and litter the Atlantic coastline across the Niger Delta region.
The agency said it was coordinating a multi-agency investigation, aimed at unraveling the cause of the reported massive death of fishes within the nation’s territorial waters and was looking beyond the oil industry.
Director-General of NOSDRA, Mr Idris Musa, told newsmen in a telephone chat on Wednesday in Yenagoa, that investigation was already ongoing in spite the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to Musa, officials of NOSDRA deployed from Warri, Yenagoa and Port Harcourt have conducted site visits to the Atlantic coastline in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers to collect water and fish samples for tests.
”NOSDRA carried out a reconnaissance of the area in Delta where we first got the report through a member of a non- governmental organisation.
“There is no incident of oil spill within the area of reported dead fishes, notwithstanding that a few dead fishes were seen along the shoreline.
“The event of recent days where the death of fishes in large numbers make it expedient to look beyond oil spillage as the likely cause of death of fishes in such large numbers,” he said.
Musa said that the agency collected samples of water, sediments and some of the dead fishes for laboratory testing, and in doing so, brought on board other relevant government agencies that have mandate on the territorial waters, in particularly the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) and the Federal Institute of Fisheries Research.
“Also, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for all hands on deck assessment of the possible cause or causes of death of the fishes in such large numbers,” Musa said.
The NOSDRA chief executive said that the results of ongoing laboratory analysis would be compared with results from the participating agencies to profer an effective solution and ensures a more stringent regulation in future.
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