-Says his county is safe
Jerry Varnie, Superintendent of Margibi County, has dispelled the notion that Margibi is affected by the national state of emergency and partial lock-down because of confirmed Coronavirus cases.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer recently at his residence in Kakata, Superintendent Varnie said his office and all other government sub-offices in the County are collaborating in ensuring that the people remain safe.
“We are part of the lockdown because we have the nation’s only largest and busiest airport, Roberts International Airport (RIA). We also have the 14th Military Hospital located on our soil and as such, the precautionary measures put in place by the government headed by President George Manneh Weah are timely and welcoming,” he said.
According to him, lots of people travel to and from other African Countries as well as other parts of the world and as such, residents of Margibi who work at the RIA will not be safe if the airport remains open and no preventive measures were put in place.
Since President Weah announced the State of Emergency on April 8, 2020, Varnie said the County Health Team headed by Dr. Myer Pajibo is doing well in Coronavirus awareness campaign and regular temperature testing of all commuters who ply the route to Kakata and its suburbs daily.
“Even though no confirmed COVID-19 case has yet been reported in any part of Margibi, we are not complacent. We are on the alert and making sure that our people respect the mandate of the President,” Varnie said.
He added that checkpoints are operational in major areas of the Monrovia-Kakata highway as well as the Kakata-Gbarnga highway.
“Booker Washington Institute (BWI), Firestone Division 26 and a couple of other areas in Central Kakata are all guided by checkpoints,” noting further, “In Nyanforlah, the border between Bong and Margibi, we have another check point there and the temperature check up and regular hand washing protocols are well on course.”
Varnie said Kakata is a transit point for all travelers from other counties beyond Kakata and those from Monrovia and other parts of Margibi.
“The man who reportedly tested positive of COVID-19 and later died in Nimba passed through Kakata to Nimba. Who knows whether he stopped and had any interaction with our street sellers. It is only God Who knows and He alone will help us in this fight against an invisible enemy,” he pointed out.
He, meanwhile, called on President Weah to consider extending a financial and other resource-based support to Margibi in order to sustain the security measures in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19
“I must commend President Weah for his farsightedness. Out of wisdom, he instituted the present measures which are now helping our country significantly. We don’t have anything much in our own capacity as individual leaders of this County but with his support, we can continue to do a great job,” Varnie noted.
Due to the collaboration among the security agencies, including Kakata City Police (KCP), the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA), the Liberian National Police (LNP) among others in the County, he said, there is so much help in preventing people from violating government’s state of emergency and lockdown orders.
He said the main street of Kakata and all other streets of the city are no longer congested as they used to be.
“They went into the bush to pray. That was wrong and as such, they should face the law. After God, the government is next. Prayer is good but it should not be done in total disregard for the survival of a people,” Varnie reacted.
He said that no one is above the law, not even him as Superintendent.
“Visitors to my residence or my office sit a distance from me and my family. We are respecting social distancing.
“We have been asked to stay home and pray. God can hear our prayers from any location and answer us. The Muslims are abiding by the order. They have closed their mosques, what more about our Churches,” he angrily said.
He added: “This is how most of them were responsible for the deaths of many of how fellow citizens in this country when the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) hit our country. Stay home, pray and out of belief, let your prayer impact the lives of people.”
He noted that he conducts regular morning devotional meetings with his family and he is confident that God hears and answers their prayers at all times.
“I am a member of the Kingdom of God Church for over 22 years now, but our Bishop, Sesay stays home and prays. Our Church is on the Bong Mines Road and its doors are closed right now as I speak,” Varney said.
He thanked President Weah for ensuring that Electricity has returned to Kakata after nearly 30 years.
In recent days clergymen and some members of the All Saints Assembly of God Church they gathered outside of Kakata recently to pray for the Coronavirus pandemic to be defeated both in Liberia and other parts of the world already affected by the pandemic.
Sources say Police in Kakata along with other forces of the joint security moved on the worshipers with an excessive force wherein the Church’s Bishop and other members of the congregation were severely beaten for violating the State of emergency and lockdown orders recently issued by President George Weah.
Information gathered from the Police headquarters in Kakata, Margibi says the Church leaders and some other members of the All Saints Assembly of God Church are in detention at the LNP headquarters in Monrovia awaiting questioning for their actions.