— Leaving the citizens to their own devices
Lockdown enforcement operations intended to curb the spread of the deadly COVID–19 in Nimba County, have now become lax. According to security officials in the county, the lack of logistics and the constant political interference of local authorities has made it difficult for them to effectively enforce the state of emergency measures announced by the President.
From the onset of the lockdown on Saturday, April 10, 2020, security officers were vigilant and enforcing the lockdown measures, but by the fourth day, enforcement appeared to have declined, leaving the citizens to their own devices.
After the lockdown hour of 3 pm and even up to 4 pm, people can still be seen on the streets, moving about, either on bikes, walking or relaxing in vehicles.
“Our Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) has been hampered by the civil authorities because they are on public radio daily, calling on us to be moderate with citizens and that we should escort them to their various homes whenever we see them out after the hours,” said a supervising officer, who asked for anonymity because he is not clothed with the authority to speak.
“This disease poses risk to everybody, including security personnel that’s why we are implementing the executive mandate to stop the spread of the disease, but the local authorities continue to undermine our operations, which might incite the public against us,” said another officer.
Recently, Supt, Nelson Korquoi and county Inspector Mark Gblinwon have been on local radio stations across the county calling on the security to be civil and stop going into communities in pursuit of individuals under the guise of enforcing the state of emergency.
They even told the security to allow non-essential businesses, like building materials and non-food items to open halfway, something many security officers consider as against the “state of emergency” or the mandate of the President.
In Ganta and other provincial cities in Nimba, stores are selling non-food items, including Sethi Brothers, and others, after the announcement by the Superintendent.
In the fight against Ebola several years ago, some companies, including Arcelor Mittal, Jonah Capital, and others donated vehicles to the county health team, while the local authorities provided support with funding sourced from the social development fund, but this has not been forthcoming.
However, most of the preventive measures set up by the government are yet to be adhered to. Markets places remain crowded at the same time banking institutions like the GN Bank are yet to observe the preventive measures announced by the Ministry of Health.