This is not the best of times for Ebonyi state Governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, as residents of the state have accused him of being responsible for the rise in COVID-19 cases in the state “due to neglect of the welfare of political appointees and taskforce members”.
On Friday, May 22, the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) announced that Ebonyi now has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in the South East, with 22 confirmed cases, overtaking Enugu (16), Abia (7), Imo (7) and Anambra (5).
Speaking with Blueprint, a resident, Francis Ndukwe Enyinnia, alleged that ”Umahi is owing salaries to his appointees and the COVID-19 taskforce members responsible for manning the borders and entry points into the state”, hence the decision of many of them to accept bribes; in order to let in any motorist coming into the state “regardless of the person’s COVID-19 status”.
He said: “Umahi has not seen anything yet. Why shouldn’t we record the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the South-East or even the entire Nigeria? Beside sacking or suspending appointees, what has Umahi done, in terms of taking care of the welfare of the taskforce members he expects to keep vigil at the borders and entry points into the state?
“For your information, the popular opinion is that the security agents and members of the COVID-19 taskforce have been ‘settled’ with appointments to man different borders, because they have reached a common resolution to accept money and let in anyone coming into the state, regardless of whether the person is COVID 19 positive or not. So, Umahi should stop dancing like a bull with a boil in his buttocks. More cases will be recorded, because the welfare and wellbeing of Ebonyians have been neglected. Let him do the needful or forever remain silent and watch the situation deteriorate. Nonsense!”
Similarly, a member of the taskforce in Abaomege, who pleaded anonymity, said that COVID- 19 cases will continue to rise in Ebonyi State “regardless of whatever policies the governor will put in place to combat the spread of the pandemic”.
“What time is this? 2am, right? Where is the governor? He is sleeping in his palace, right? Yet, you expect me to be awake to check motorists coming into the state. Beside the perfunctory payment of stipends as salary, what has the governor done to take care of my welfare and that of my taskforce members?
“Are we so foolish that we will not accept money to let in travelers? If the governor likes, let him patrol all the borders. He cannot be everywhere at the same time. If our welfare is not adequately taken care of, then he is just making a noise. If the COVID-19 cases rise to ten thousand or more, it is his business. After all, the infection is not a death sentence.
“Ebonyians should hold Umahi responsible for every case of COVID-19 recorded in the state. ‘Monkey de work, baboon de chop’ is what the governor wants us to experience, with his sleeping peacefully in his palace, refusing to share palliatives to us, but expect us to work with joy in our hearts. Without adequate compensation, he has not seen anything yet,” he said.