Ikom, the commercial nerve centre of Cross River State is under serious Covid 19 threat as immigrants from neighbouring Cameroun continue to flock into the town, with no COVID 19 testing in place to determine the status of those arriving www.calitown.com investigations can reveal.
Specifically, the result of our investigations point to the fact that, while notable crossing points into that part of the state like Ekok-Ajassor in nearby Etung LGA appear weakly manned, other entry points through Bashu and Danare in Boki LGA and Ekuk-atai also in Etung, experience a steady and worrying stream of immigrants from Cameroun, headed for Ikom.
It was also discovered that this influx has been in place for a while, the state government’s half hearted response, even with the despatch of the COVID 19 State Response Team to the areas, yielded no positives. Overwhelmed, government withdrew the team(s) and handed over the patrol and blockade of the mentioned areas to traditional rulers in those areas, a situation that has seen Ikom-destined traffic more than double. “If you are in Ikom right now, you will see that the population here is increasing and any normal person has to be very scared because if the pandemic docks here, there is no testing facility anywhere near here and the risk of community transmission will be devastating. I can tell you for sure that with government’s efforts only visible in the media, the worst may hit Ikom. Nobody is restricting these Camerounians from coming here and there is of course no guarantees that those coming here have tested negative. Undoubtedly, we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder, something very scary”, Mbeh Owan, a resident of Ikom told us. Reminded that the immigrants may be fleeing the conflict in Cameroun’s South West Province, Owan waved that aside and maintained to us that, the war has eased.
Another resident who does not want his name in print is of the opinion that, “… it is difficult to say this but I cannot completely rule out the fact that this virus is not in Ikom. Most of these people who cross those borders and come here, more than any other thing come here for business and their entrance and exit is unrestricted; we don’t know who is coming, who has come, who was in contact with who, who has left, who is leaving on who has brought whatsoever to us here. We must deliberately use outlets like yours to draw attention to what I want to refer to as government’s deliberate neglect of a critical role it should ordinarily play in this pandemic. So in no time all the funds announced on air for this fight are gone? We must help ourselves”, he concluded.
With Cross River State yet to report an index case of the virus, Ikom may be in pole position for what will be an unfortunate situation by all standards.
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