Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano has directed the State Police Command, to arrest and prosecute any agency or group of people not approved by the government, masquerading as COVID-19 taskforce in the state.

Obiano gave the directive in a broadcast in Onitsha on Monday, on the state of affairs with respect to the management of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

In the past few months, there have been reports and substantiated evidence to the illegal operations of fake COVID-19 enforcement teams who parade themselves in fake COVID-19 Task Force uniforms.

These individuals have been arresting people and extorting huge sums of money from them while posturing as working for the government of Anambra State and are very active in places like Onitsha, Nkpor and Obosi.

But in the briefing yesterday, Governor Obiano made it clear that the only agencies authorized to enforce the Anambra State COVID-19 Law are the members of Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA Brigade), the Anambra Traffic Management Agency (ATMA) and trained members of the various taskforces set up in the various markets across the state.

He maintained that any other agency or group of people masquerading as COVID-19 Task Force on the streets of Anambra State is fake.

“I want to quickly warn these fake operators that the Anambra State Police Command has been directed to search for, arrest and prosecute anybody masquerading as a Covid-19 Task Force operator in our dear state. To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” the governor warned.

He revealed that with the help of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the state had successfully set up a major testing facility at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku-Awka while enough specialists have been deployed to collect samples from the populace.

He said the laboratory has already run a total of 208 Covid-19 tests within its short period of operation.

“Each of its 5 machines has an installed capacity to run 470 tests in 24 hours. This means that when fully optimized, our molecular laboratory can run a total of 2,350 Covid-19 tests in 24 hours. That is very impressive by all standards. So, in the coming weeks, our COVID-19 figures will experience a sharp rise as we ramp up more tests in our new molecular laboratory. I urge our people not to panic when they see the surge in the number of cases from our dear state, because it is a major part of our fight back against the pandemic,” Obiano appealed.

The governor, however, noted that without the cooperation of the people, government’s efforts at setting up the facility will be in vain.

According to him, going by the testing expectations distributed to every state of the federation by the NCDC, Anambra State is expected to have done a total of 115, 974 tests in the next six months.

Obiano said, “A breakdown of this figure shows that Anambra must do a total of 4,425 tests per week to meet this national average. With our new molecular lab, we can surpass that figure. But we must work together to surpass it. That is why I am appealing to all the traditional rulers and all the leaders of the church as well opinion leaders to assist the state in creating more awareness on the need for people to go for tests. It is the only way to erase all doubts and also the best way to ensure early detection and treatment.”