COVID-19: Explore Back Channel Communication with FG, Abe Urges Rivers Govt

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Magnus Abe

By Adedayo Akinwale

The Senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe, has said that the spiraling controversies and escalating issues between the Rivers state and the federal government will not help Rivers people in the fight against the coronavirus.

To this end, he called on the Rivers government to seek back channel lines of communication to resolve any outstanding issues with the federal government through dialogue.

Abe in a statement issued on Sunday said he had earlier stated that he would not be party to any action that would politicise the ability of the state government to confront the coronavirus pandemic as a people.

He stated: “In the light of the spiraling controversies, escalating issues between the Rivers state government and the federal government, I want to use this opportunity to publicly appeal to the Rivers state government to immediately seek and secure back channel lines of communication, and resolve any outstanding issues with the federal government through dialogue.

“Wisdom is not weakness, it is one thing to have a political dispute with an individual whose attitude and conduct a lot of people may not approve of, but it is a different matter for sub national entity like Rivers state to challenge the sovereignty of Nigeria at this time when we should all be working together to combat an unseen but deadly enemy.

“The Confrontational approach of the Rivers state government will open the flood gates for conflict entrepreneurs who will use the opportunity of conflict to further their political and economic nest, to the detriment of the state.

“This conflict will not in anyway help the majority of Rivers people in the fight against the corona virus.”

Abe said this was not the time to settle issues of supremacy between elected and unelected functionaries of government, adding that in the fight against the coronavirus, what is needed is unity and cooperation between all tiers and arms of government.

The lawmaker also appealed to the federal government to keep open the opportunity of dialogue and cooperation with all states particularly Rivers state because of its population and strategic importance to the nation’s economy.

He said that Nigeria cannot afford to be distracted by politics at this time, stressing that the greatest danger facing the states at this time is not the risk from approved international travelers who could be easily tracked and monitored, but is the risk of community spread and interstate commuters most of whom are neither documented nor can they be tracked.

According to him, the solution to this danger is for states to establish accredited test centers and take steps to document inter state travelers for tracking purposes.