The Abia State House of Assembly today had an interactive session with the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, during which the state legislators were told that Abia has no testing kits for Coronavirus.
The Commissioner briefed the Lawmakers that although the State does not have any record of Corona Virus, the State Government led by Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has proactively taken steps to ensure that the citizens and residents of Abia are safe from the pandemic.
Dr Joe Osuji revealed that currently there are three CONVID-19 Isolation centers in Abia State located at Amachara General Hospital, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba.
“We have prepared ourselves, we have all we need should we have any unlikely record of the disease in Abia”, he said.
“We are using the health workers and health officers trained for Ebola Virus and Lassa Fever; we also have our personnel who are undergoing training on the Corona Virus in Lagos.
“We have done a lot of sensitization even in churches and town halls in the rural Areas.
“We may not have the modalities to provide Isolation centers everywhere but we have emergency personnel stationed everywhere that can help in case of any emergency.
“We still pray and appeal to every Abian, if you have any Information, you have to disclose that Information so that we can follow up on the case”, he added.
The Commissioner said his ministry has directed all private practitioners to refer any case to any of the tertiary isolation centers in the State.
On the steps being taken by the ministry to ensure that markets in Abia are not hit by the CONVID-19 disease, Dr Osuji said his ministry has sent out hand sanitizers to the Ministry of Trade and Investment for onward distribution to the markets.
On their part, the Lawmakers advised the State Commissioner for Health to take steps on how to implement social distancing in Abia.
The Commissioner said although there are no testing kits in the state, what the ministry does is to courier the samples collected to the nearest Testing Center.
The Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji said “It is God that is saving us based on where God has positioned us on the planet. We will continue to do what we need to do to keep our people safe. Emphasize on lockdown and social distancing at this period of the pandemic”.
He advised the Commissioner to be more forceful in implementing self Isolation and social distancing in the State.
“It is recommended that one washes their hands at least 20 times in a day during this pandemic.
“We will continue to pray to God so that temperature in our clime remains above 40 degree celsius.
After briefing the Lawmakers, the Commissioner was ushered to his exit for continuation of other businesses of the day.
The House considered H.A.B.17: The Abia State Security Fund(ASSF) Bill, 2020 (A Bill for a Law to Establish a Fund to Assist Security Agencies in Abia State and for other Matters Connected therewith).
The Sponsor, Hon Solomon Akpulonu in leading the debate said the Bill will provide for a Security Card which will be distributed to all citizens and residents of Abia.
“It is a Security Support Card which will be distributed free to Abians”.
“Basically, corporate organisations and contractors who do business in Abia will have to make contributions from their profits which will be deducted from source”
The Majority Leader, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, also said the funds will be domiciled in the Office of the Governor.
“Mr Speaker, Honourable Colleagues, if we pass this Bill, the state will benefit so much and be happy with the significant improvement in our security”, he enthused.
After contributions by members, Hon Solomon Akpulonu urged the House to amend its Order Paper to allow for the consideration of the Bill in the Committee of the Whole House. The Deputy Minority Leader, Hon Chukwu Chijioke, seconded the Motion with the House responding in the affirmative when the Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji put the Motion up for vote.
The Bill was committed to the Committee of the Whole House.
The Abia State Security Fund(ASSF) Bill 2020 seeks to provide support for security agencies in Abia State.
The Bill empowers the Governor of Abia State to appoint not more than 2 persons to manage the Funds and the appointed will be answerable to the Governor and have a term of three years.
The Security Card seeks to reduce the indiscriminate collection of security levy by some groups in the State.
Every employed person, residents and those doing business in Abia and are above 18 years shall be required to pay a token for the Security Card.
The Bill stipulates N200 monthly support for the Security Fund through the Security Card, electronically.
The Bill empowers the Coordinator to embark on Fund Raising exercise at its own cost.
The Bill barred the Coordinator from embarking on the Fund raising exercise if the Fund shall be inconsequential to the program.
The Bill considers it as an offense for anyone employed in the State to default in their payment for the Fund for a maximum of two consecutive months, while anyone convicted on account of this shall be liable to two months Imprisonment.
The Bill prohibits the production and circulation of fake Security Cards.
The Bill when passed shall repeal the Abia State Security Fund Law of 2007 and the Abia State Security Amendment Fund Law of 2015 .
After considering the Bill in the Committee of the Whole, the House reverted back to full Plenary.
Following the Motion of the Majority Leader, Hon Solomon Akpulonu, seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon Sir Abraham Oba, the House took the 3rd Reading of the Bill and subsequently passed it into Law.
The House Subsequently Passed H.A.B.17: The Abia State Security Fund(ASSF) Bill 2020 into Law.
“This Law shall be cited as the Abia State Security Fund (ASSF) and shall come into full effect from Monday, 23rd of March, 2020”, the Speaker announced.
With the Motion of the Majority Leader exhaustively dealt with, the House adjourned Plenary to reconvene on the 4th of May, 2020.