Akwa Ibom State Government is to enlist the services of Vigilante and Youth groups in border communities to abate the worrisome incidence of corpses being smuggled into the State.
This is coming at the wake of interception of another Corpse barely 72 hours after a similar incident was recorded in the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong who made this known said it has become expedient to co-opt vigilante and community youth groups to join the Police and other security agencies in border checks as it was almost certain that these misadventures are successfully carried out through Bush tracks.
Dr. Dominic Ukpong expressed the state government’s dismay at the worrisome occurrence of smuggling into the State of corpses of suspected COVID-19 patients emphasizing that, government is very uncomfortable with the unpleasant situation after several warnings.
He intimated that the latest body was also transported from Lagos State, stating that it was very disheartening that despite the interstate lockdown, some unscrupulous members of the public were still risking such misadventure.
Reiterating that such misadventures could only be achieved through the use of unauthorized passages like bush tracks to beat security checks on the highways the Commissioner said the trend has necessitated the co-opting of community youths/ vigilantes to compliment the efforts of the police and other security personnel on border checks and illegal entry.
The Health boss while addressing the state COVID-19 Incident Management Committee, mentioned that he had sought the cooperation of Health Commissioners in other States in a bid to forestall the movement of corpses in and out of their States.
Dr. Ukpong disclosed to the Committee that the said the intercepted body had been safely deposited in a mortuary pending the confirmation of its COVID-19 status, adding that the contacts who were with the transporting ambulance are being quarantined.
Acknowledging that some traditions make it mandatory to bury the dead in their homelands, the Health Boss said the current global war against the COVID-19 pandemic will not make room for such practices.
He held that any of such corpses when caught, would be buried in accordance to the protocol for burial of an infected corpse and all contacts quarantined.
The health commissioner called on members of the public to support government in the fight against COVID19 by shunning all unwholesome activities and reminded all Medical Superintendents to mandate their morticians to report every corpse that is deposited in the morgue.
Dr Ukpong used the occasion to extend the appreciation of Governor Udom Emmanuel to the state COVID-19 Incident Management Committe saying that Governor Udom Emmanuel had highly commended the tireless efforts of the members in the battle to stem the spread of covid-19 in the state.
Responding, the Deputy Incidence Manager, Dr. Godfrey Akro, said the committee was only reciprocating the sincere commitment of the state government positing that, the committee would not have recorded any stride but for the support of government.
Dr Geoffrey Akro stated that the government of Mr Udom Emmanuel had committed a lot of resources into the acquisition and rehabilitation of infrastructure in the health sector, noting that, the enabling environment has been created for the successes so far recorded by the State in the fight against COVID-19.
Dr Akro assured government of the unrelenting dedication of the team to keep Akwa Ibom free of covid-19.