By Ernest Chinwo
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has inaugurated the State Task Force on Border Closure, saying he is determined to protect the people of the state from coronavirus.
He also announced that one of the new cases at the state’s treatment centre came from the oil rig of one of the oil companies.
Inaugurating the Task Force Thursday in Port Harcourt, Wike said the state government resolved to establish the Task Force on Border Closure following cases of sabotage at the state boundaries, where security personnel allowed unauthorized people access to the state without the mandatory health checks.
He said: “This Task Force is very important. When they don’t want you to live, you must devise means to survive.”
Wike expressed regret that most of the new cases in the state are people who slipped through the border and were allowed in by the security agencies.
He said: “You have to support the security agencies and don’t allow anyone to get into the state without approval.
“Anyone coming into the state must be screened by the health officials. Don’t join the security agencies to extort money from people. If that happens, the essence of this Task Force is defeated.”
He charged the Task Force to work as if they are struggling to save their own lives, adding that that is necessary because the state is being sabotaged from all sides.
“We are being sabotaged at sea, land and at the domestic wing of the airport. Sometimes, they secretly receive flights and before we know the people sneak into the town. The Task Force in Ikwerre must check anyone coming from the airport.
“When we shout, they say we are fighting the federal government. All we are saying is help us to fight the virus. This is a matter of life and death. You must protect your people,” he said.
He reiterated that this is a non-conventional war, which has nothing to do with politics.
He charged the Task Force to always carry their identity cards as there would be no excuses from the operatives, adding that they have to work 24 hours daily.
He said: “We will not relax because if coronavirus escalates in this state, we will not get any form of support.”
On the recent cases, Wike said the oil companies are sabotaging the efforts of the state government as one of the new cases in the state was an oil worker at the rig.
“Most of these oil companies also sabotage us. One of the cases at the state treatment centre is an oil worker who came from the rig. He tested positive and now our health workers are tracing all his contacts to check the spread,” the governor said.
Responding on behalf of the Task Force, Donald Frank assured the governor that the operatives would work hard to carry out his directive.