Staff of the Tinapa Business Resort have protested the state government’s alleged plans to use the resort as Isolation Centre for Coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment in Cross River state.
The outnumbered staff came out on Friday, April 24, 2020, to protest their grievances while pleading with the state government to save their jobs, especially in this pandemic era.
The staff on their face masks were carrying placards with inscriptions like: “We say no to Tinapa Isolation centre”, “We cry for help”, “Tinapa must not end this season”, His Excellency, save our jobs”.
Others were: “Tinapa is not best for Isolation centre”, “Our Digital Governor, save Tinapa”, Isolation centre is the end of Tinapa”, and lots more.
DAILY POST findings reveal that some members of the COVID-19 Task Force were at the Tinapa event centre to inspect the facility for possible siting of COVID-19 expanded treatment centre on Thursday.
But one of the Managers of the hotel, Ebumordi Joseph who is also the Night Manager told our reporter via phone on Friday that the rumour was that the event centre, very close to the Tinapa Lakeside Hotel was to be used as a pre-coronavirus treatment centre.
“It will not go down well with the hotel and the workers of the Tinapa. Tinapa was built with a vision and it is a business resort, bringing such a thing there will not go down well because the hall in question is very close to the hotel.
“It is the event center of the hotel, and that is the only place we use to generate funds and there is nowhere you will put that thing there and people there will still be working. The workers there are not health staff that means that the people are going to lose their work, lose their livelihood, lose their source of income.
“There are other alternatives, if they have put us on the know, we would have suggested places for them. All over Nigeria, tents are built in open places and after the exercise; the tents will be collapsed and burnt off”.
“But the most striking thing, why we want the government to intervene in this matter is that I don’t think it was well thought out, the issue is that this is the hospitality industry, if somebody dies in your hotel, it is a bad name.
“Most of our guests are outside Calabar, if they read that Tinapa Hotel is where this thing takes place, they will not come again; the stigma is our problem and it is going to stay with us for a very long time, it will be difficult to wash off.
“We are appealing to the government to look for another open place and leave Tinapa out of it. Once it goes out that everything about Tinapa is finished nobody will come there, we will lose our sources of income, we will lose our livelihood, and it will take about fifteen years to say the virus is gone” he said.
Joseph said that Emporium 1, 2, 3, 4 in Tinapa, that are bigger could be used in place of the event centre for the COVID-19 treatment, if somebody sneezes at the event centre, it will affect the guests and that is not the right place to put that thing there
“We are not saying that the government should not treat people, we can fall victim. From what I think is going to happen, when they bring test kits, we will know the number of people affected in Cross River State but we don’t know yet because there are no test kits
“You know Cross Riverians are highly mobile people, as the governor said on air, NTA International News, that there are over ninety-something illegal routes into Cross River State from Cameroon. The event center is going to be too small from what we are expecting; we should continue with the social distancing and no mask no movement.
“They should do it in a place where it is ok, not a place that will affect other people’s livelihoods. We can look at hunger as a virus too. They have asked us to move out of our generator, and they are bringing beds there. The place cannot take up to 100 people and with the beds, it can only take up fifty people” he stated.
When DAILY POST contacted the Chairman of the State COVID-19 task force, who is Commissioner of Health, Dr. Betta Edu via phone on Friday, he said, “We have not started anything there yet though we are working on it.
About the protest by the workers, the commissioner asked, “Who owns the property? Who hired them, we will soon shut down everywhere and send them away, who hired them? Somebody hired you to his property and you are telling him what to do and what not to do
“My position is simple, we have not started anything there, we are inspecting the site and looking for an area of expansion and when we are ready, we will do what we want to do” Dr. Edu emphasized.