Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade on Tuesday said that he does not believe in shutting down his state and locking the residents inside because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has also said that with the face masks freely given to the people of Cross River, there is also no need for social distancing, because “as a professor of science, I know that once you wear face and nose masks you are already protected, you don’t need social distancing when you are properly protected.”
The governor made the declarations on Tuesday in Calabar as he went round some parts of the state capital to monitor the level of compliance to the mask wearing orders he gave. A task force comprising all his appointees has since been set up to monitor compliance.
The governor said “There must be a holy matrimony between protection of lives and protection of livelihoods. Some of our brothers and sisters depend on daily work .If you carry blocks for a living, the day you are stopped from going to work there will be no money to feed the children. Therefore, I do not believe in shutting down my state, I shut down the borders to protect my state and allow businesses to thrive.”
“For us as a state, we are preparing ourselves for the post-Coronavirus era when the planting season is just coming with the onset of the rains. We have prepared ourselves to be the biggest rice producers in the country with the Ogoja rice Mill which is the most professional and the first vitaminized rice Mill in Africa, and is currently undergoing a dry test and by May we should be ready to start milling”, he said
The governor said the state was committed to the welfare of its citizens especially the vulnerable ones in the society as food items would be distributed to the poor all over the state using the YESSO register.
“We are giving out nose masks for free, we are also deploying the world bank poverty register for Cross River State which was developed in partnership with Cross River State under our YESSO program to identify those who are so poor that they cannot afford to stay two weeks at home without support.
“Those are the people that we are going to be delivering food items to their door steps and we are doing so in a systematic manner in the sense that the families are already known to us.”