COVID-19: Ebonyi State Govt. threatens to seal Banks violating social distancing order in the state- By Reginald Okoro

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The Ebonyi state government on Monday threatened to seal any bank in the state violating the social distancing order in the state.

An official of the Ebonyi COVID-19 Committee issued this threat when members of the committee visited a branch of the United Bank of Africa today in Abakalike the state capital in continuation of the routine monitoring and enforcement of the state government’s COVID-19 laws and restrictions

The official who led other members of the COVID-19 committee to the bank lamented the non enforcement of social distancing order by officials of the bank describing the development as a violation of the Ebonyi COVID-19 law 005.

The official who was visibly furious at the large crowd of customers who were at the bank’s premises without observing any form of social distancing as recommended by government threatened to report the incident to the appropriate authority for action.

He also threatened immediate sanction on those who were not wearing face masks for violating the state government’s directive that made wearing of face mask compulsory for anyone leaving the home.

Some customers at the Ogoja branch of UBA in a crowded queue on Monday

The official who was wearing the committee’s official outfit and declined to disclose his identity to cautioned the people against endangering their lives, those of their families and relations through disobeying instructions.

He urged them to consciously observe the social distancing order, other safety guidelines and precautions to remain safe and alive.

He said: If I see this eye sore again, I will make call and report the bank to the relevant authority and the bank will cease operation today.

“Are we animals? Are we not hearing the several deaths being recorded as a result of the pandemic and why can’t we obey simple directive given by government for our own good?

“We must learn to obey government’s directives because they were given for our own safety.

“Look at how people are carrying money, do you know if this money is infected with the virus,?

Another crowd at UBA

The team which later dispersed the crowd urged the bank officials to ensure that the customers were made to observe social distancing to avoid the risk of people being infected with the virus.

Meanwhile, a visit to other banks revealed that there were congestions in the bank premises while customers jostled to gain access into the banking hall.

Some customers who spoke to Summitnews expressed concerns on the lack of enforcement of the social distancing order at the banks to mitigate the risk of spreading the dreaded virus.

The customers said that with five confirmed cases of the virus in the state that institutions including banks that record high traffic of persons should ensure strict adherence to all recommended safety precautions to curb further spread the virus.

Dr Ifeanyi Onwe, a customer at the Access bank who spoke to NAN said that the bank authority should device ways to ensure that there were no congestion of people in the premises.

“I’m afraid that with this crowd and assuming that there is any COVID-19 positive person here, the implication is that many of the customers who are here to transact business will contract the disease without knowing.

“Social distancing is very necessary and one of the effective ways to contain and prevent spread of the the virus.

“I am urging government and its COVID-19 law enforcement team to beam their search-lights on banks and other institutions that record daily high influx of persons to curb spread of the virus,” Onwe said.

Messrs Ken Awo and Luke Anyim, customers at the Water Works branch of First Bank plc observed that social distancing was not been observed by customers because the bank officials especially the security men were not enforcing the order.

“Everyone is at a risk of contracting the virus because of our attitude towards obeying simple government’s directive.

“The crowd is much, there is no form of control and everyone is pushing to enter the hall and even the ATM points, the line is very long, rowdy and people are physically touching themselves.

“The government should as a matter urgency meet with bank officials in the state and fine-tune measures to enhance social distancing at various banks by customers,” they said.

Meanwhile, Summitnews reports that all banks visited provided water in a water dispensing buckets, soaps and hand sanitizers that customers use on entry into the bank.

Summitnews also reports that civil servants from grade level 01 to 10 who were on compulsory break following the lockdown in March resumed duties on Monday, May 4 while shops which closed due to the lockdown had reopened for business.

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