- Relaxes lockdown of Port Harcourt metropolis
By Ernest Chinwo
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has stated that the State Security Council takes all decisions in the prosecution of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.
This came as he announced the relaxation of the lockdown of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
Speaking Tuesday when the executive of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Rivers State Chapter paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike stated that he has never taken any unilateral decision.
He said all decisions taken by the state government are for the overall good and interest of the Rivers people as no right thinking government would deliberately take decisions that would negatively affect the lives of the people.
“I don’t take decisions alone in the fight against Covid-19. All decisions are taken by the State Security Council and they are for the overall interest of Rivers people.
“You know people applaud government decisions when it suits them but when it does not favour them they say it is politically motivated.
“Rivers State Government does not have anything against hoteliers in the state, but decided to shut down their activities because some cases of Covid-19 were recorded in hotels,” he stated.
He blamed the hoteliers for failing to assist government in providing relevant information regarding those that test positive of the coronavirus pandemic in their hotels.
The governor stated that he is more pained than any other person in the state that churches and mosques are not holding their full religious activities because of Covid-19.
He lauded members of the state chapter of Nigeria Hotel Association for identifying with government’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19.
Earlier, the state Chairman of the association, Mr. Eugene Nwauzi, commended Wike for leading the fight against coronavirus in the country.
He however appealed to the state government to relax the ban on hotel businesses, assuring the government that all protocols put in place for the containment of the spread of the virus would be fully observed by hoteliers.
Meanwhile, in a statewide broadcast Tuesday evening, Wike put off indefinitely the resumption of the lockdown of Port Harcourt metropolis made up of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
While he acknowledged that some of the decisions taken by his administration had been harsh, he said they were necessary to protect the people from the rampaging pandemic.
“Arguably, these measures and your sacrifices have enabled us so far, to contain and limit the spread of this virus to four out of the 23 local government areas of the State.
“In essence, no part of Rivers State is or will be under any lockdown from this moment and this will be so, except where it becomes necessary again,” he said.
While urging the people to observe and maintain laid down necessary procedures, Wike emphasised that all entry points into the state remain closed, while all residents must wear masks or covering into any public space, including roads, banks, shopping malls, shops, hotels and in any lawful social gathering.
He said the state’s taskforce and the security agencies have been directed to arrest and summarily prosecute any person seen on the streets or any other public place without wearing masks.
While bars, beer parlours, or drinking joints, night clubs, viewing centres, open markets and cinemas remain closed, Wike said hotels could operate provided they
provide daily guest list to the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) and would not host large gatherings, including parties and receptions.
He said residents should not fret about the rising cases of the pandemic in the state as it was as a result of the increase testing of people and contact-tracing.
On the suspected outbreak of the virus at Bonny Island, he said the state commissioner for health has led a team of experts to the area and that they have collected samples from suspected cases for analysis and immediate intervention should the results indicate the outbreak of the virus in the area.