Christmas: Residents abandon playgrounds, recreational, entertainment centres over COVID-19, kidnapping

Residents of Cross River State on Friday abandoned recreational, entertainment centres and other playgrounds in the state for fear of contracting or spreading the contagious coronavirus, kidnapping and robbery.

DAILY POST, who visited some recreational, entertainment centres and playgrounds, observed that most of the centres and playgrounds were scanty while others have no presence of anybody following the closure by the owners with a view to observing government’s order over COVID-19.

At the popular Eleven Eleven Roundabout, Millennium Park, Watt Market Effigy and other places, it was observed that there was either nobody or the number of fund seekers reduced to minimally.

One Chief Okon Asukwo Ekpo who was at Wat Market Effigy on Friday to watch a cultural display told our correspondent that beside COVID-19, people were afraid to come out for fear of being kidnapped or robbed.

He said throughout his 58 years of existence, he has never witnessed this kind of Christmas.

Chief Asukwo Ekpo regretted that the activities of government were not helping matters both at the state and federal, “The activities of the current government at the state and federal government has crippled the economic, social and political activities hence money hardly enters the people’s hands.

“Look round, insecurity all over, kidnapping, robbery, people are afraid to come out for fear of being kidnapped or robbed. However, we thank God for seeing today and hopeful that things will improve in 2021” he stated

Also speaking some owners of recreational centres regretted the insecurity crisis in the country and other crimes alleging that most of the crimes are hatched at recreational, playground and entertainment centres and with a view to control crimes and criminality they decided to operate in a low key.

“We also want to follow the COVID-19 protocol by observing social distancing, washing of hands or using sanitizers and wearing face masks. Our government has done a lot and we as residents have to support her because the 2nd wave of COVID-19 is dangerous”

The Chairman of COVID-19 Response Team who is also the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, in a statement made available to our reporter directed all Night Clubs in Cross River state to immediately shut down, until further notice.

“The 10pm to 6 a.m curfew imposed by the State Government remains in place while the protocol of ‘No Mask No Movement’ must be enforced at all public places: offices, businesses, markets, shops, and so on.

“All Places of Worship (Churches, Mosques, etc.) must ensure compulsory use of face mask, hand sanitizers, hand washing facilities and also that no gathering exceeds 50% of the maximum capacity of the Venue.

“Avoid public gatherings and parties as much as possible this period. If you must attend, stay alert and protect yourself and loved ones at all times. All Event Planners must ensure that any planned gatherings do not exceed 300 people. This is important to prevent reversal sanctions by Taskforce at your event.

“Any and all breaches of these regulations and public health protocols will lead to immediate closure as well as attract heavy fines, and any other sanctions and penalties deemed fit, in line with the Cross River State Public Health Law amended 2020.”


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