Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has announced that the state will establish a task force to man its borders to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Signing the Executive Order RVSG-02 No. 3 -2020 at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike said the task force would be in place because of the likelihood of sabotage from the security agencies of the federal government.
He said: “This is the third Executive Order that I will be signing since the coronavirus pandemic started. This third Executive Order is very important.
“We suspect there will be sabotage on the part of the security agencies. That is why we are appointing a task force to man our borders. We owe our people a duty to protect them. There is likely to be sabotage. Our task force will be at the borders to protect our people.”
Wike also said that contrary to the “falsehood” being peddled on the release of ExxonMobil Staff, the workers were released strictly on the intervention of some dignitaries and not due to the threat to embark on strike by any union.
“No federal agency spoke to us. But there were respected Nigerians who intervened and they were released by 8a.m on Sunday.
“Exxon Mobil signed and agreed that they will take back their staff to Eket. That was the condition we gave for their release,” he said.
According to him, the laws on restriction of movements must be implemented for the safety of everyone.
“On Sunday, we arrested some staff of BOA who violated the law. They have been arraigned in court and remanded,” he said.
He added that COVID-19 is no respecter of persons, as it has killed both influential and less-privileged, hence the need to be more vigilant.
On the Dumping of Waste in Public Places (Prohibition) Bill 2020, Wike stated that the state government would employ 3,000 environmental sanitation marshals to implement the law.
He said his administration was committed to the improvement of the sanitation.
Also speaking, the Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Martins Amaehwule, said Dumping of Waste in Public Places (Prohibition) Bill 2020 would stop the dumping of wastes on road median by residents.
The Attorney-General of Rivers State, Professor Zaccheus Adangor, said the two legal instruments signed by the governor would help in the fight against the pandemic.
He explained that the Quarantine (Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other infectious diseases) Regulations (No. 2-2020) stipulates non-custodial sentences for offenders.
Under the law, individuals would be fined N50,000 while corporate organisations would pay N1 million for violations.
He said that the regulations direct the Chief Judge of Rivers State to assign a judge or magistrate to try offenders.
The Attorney-General said the Executive Order RVSG-02 No. 3 -2020 empowers the state government to set up a task force to implement all legislations related to the fight against coronavirus.