Governor Ben Ayade has explained why he would not shut down Cross River state as other governors have done, saying doing so would create an imbalance between protection of lives and the survival of his people.
Speaking while giving out 50 vehicles for the enforcement of the ‘no mask, no movement’ campaign of the state government, the Governor said “I know the challenge of my people. All around us, we have States which have already have confirmed cases. Cross River state is just at the middle and so we must do all we can to protect our people.
“This is because the protection of lives without the protection of livelihood is complete imbalance and so there must be a relationship between lives and livelihood. Some of our brothers and sisters depend on daily hustling. If you carry blocks, for instance, for a living, the day they stop you from going out to work, there will be no money that day to feed the children.
“I do not believe in shutting down my State. I shut down the borders to protect my people and allow businesses to continue. If you put on the mask, you are already partly protected. You do not need social distancing when you are properly protected. Together, Cross River state will conquer covid 19.
“Let’s close all our borders, stand with each other and provide shoulders for our brothers to lean on throughout the period of this pandemic so that at the end of the day our state would come out as covid 19 free.”
According to the Governor, protecting lives without protecting livelihoods and survival of Nigerians could spell doom for the nation as hunger could be another deadly virus.
“My administration is determined to protect the lives and livelihoods of Cross River people in the face of covid-19. This is why you still see businesses still thriving in the state,” he stated.
Moreover, the Governor, on Tuesday night kept vigil at the Cross River/Akwa Ibom boundary at the Itu bridge, together with the State Covid 19 Response Team, in a bid to enforce his government’s order banning human and vehicular movements into Cross River state.
Ayade, who arrived the Calabar-Itu head bridge before mid-night on Tuesday, spent several hours with members of the State Covid-19 task force, and departed at 9am on Wednesday.
“We will know no sleep so that our people can sleep. It is for the sake of their security and safety that we are all out here,” he stated, and added that the strict enforcement of the order was necessitated by the reality that all of the neighbouring states have recorded incidences of coronavirus infection.
According to him, leading the enforcement himself was to ensure that the boundary was totally locked, and added “Our ambition is to have zero incidents of Coronavirus in the state. While other states are locking down, we are locking out. We are locking out because inside our state, we are safe and free. Those who locked down, locked down with the virus but for Cross River, we are locking out, not locking down. That way we are staying safe.
“I must say we are proud that we are all ready to stay the night here, we will have a burn fire and I will be here till the late hours of the morning just to ensure that no vehicle enters the state. Once we are satisfied, tomorrow, we will visit another border point, the Cameroon border, until we are sure that truly, truly, we have locked Cross River properly.”