Covid-19: Community leader raises the alarm over influx of infected Cameroonians to Nigeria
Mathew Dadiya, Abuja and Isuma Mark, Calabar
A community leader, Honourable Cletus Obun, has raised the alarm over the influx of suspected Cameroonians he believed had contracted the novel coronavirus into Nigeria through Ikom, a community in Cross River State.
Obun raised the alarm in a series of messages he sent to Daily Mail on Wednesday.
Ikom is one of the local government areas in Cross River State, and lies to the east, serving as a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon.
But in a fear-ridden message, Obun, a Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress alleged that the community lacked testing kits to test those entering Nigeria which he said was dangerous.
“We don’t know if the Cameroonians coming into the community have the virus,” he said pointing that “Cameroon has infected persons up to 568 by 11:30pm,” of Tuesday.
“The villages and towns on both sides are too close ( some are less than 2km) and have daily social and commercial interactions with each other.
“Our fear of contracting the virus is heightened by the absence of testing kits and isolation centres in this remote and inaccessible border towns and villages.
“Even if the centres or testing centres exist there is neither information nor access.”
Nigeria has been struggling to get test kits and other medical equipment.
The Cross River State Government has set up isolation center but with only three ventilators.
More worrisome is lack of proper awareness in the state with 8 out of 10 persons in Ikom and few villages in the state Daily Mail spoke with said they had no knowledge of what coronavirus meant.
In the state capital Calabar, only 4 out of every 10 could explain what coronavirus or covid-19 meant but less than that number could explain how it killed people or how to protect one against the virus.
Obun expressed worry over the development pointing out that, “Ikom radio station is the major source of information, but from evidence available, showed that the station is very epileptic due to funding challenges.
“The CRBC (Cross River State Broadcasting corporation) Ikom is received in 10 local governments and extends to Benue state and three provinces in Cameroon.
The community leader who lamented the alarming situation, called for urgent intervention from the Nigerian government to halt the spread of the pandemic in the rural communities.
He feels these Cameroonians dissolve easily into the community because of shared border and the fact that they understand each other, could easily be a source of transmitting the virus at the community level.
Daily Mail reports that Cross River State has not recorded any virus but there have been worries of community spread across Nigeria if urgent steps are not taken.
The virus which broke out in one of the largest Chinese cities of Wuhan in December 2019, has killed six people in Nigeria, as at 09:30 pm 7th April, according to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.
Sixteen new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Nigeria by Wednesday with 10 in Lagos, 2 in the Abuja, 2 in Oyo, 1 in Delta and 1 in Katsina bringing the total number of infections to 254. Fourty-four of those have been discharged.
Countries such as the United State, Italy, France, Spain, China, Iran and the United Kingdom have seen huge number of deaths and infected persons.