Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Government has approved the reopening of schools in the State with effect from October 5.
The state government took the decision at an emergency session presided over by the state governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike Friday at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku said the directive affected all secondary schools, vocational schools, universities and other tertiary institutions.
He, however, noted that the state government did not approve the reopening of primary schools based on expert medical advice.
Ebeku added that the state government also approved the setting up of a seven-man taskforce to monitor and enforce the compliance of COVID-19 protocols in the various schools.
The taskforce, according to him, has the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt, Mr. Desmond Akawor, as Chairman while the Head of the State Civil Service, Mr. Rufus Godwins; Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike; Commissioner for Social Welfare, Mrs. Inime Aguma; Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Nwankpa and Commissioner for Information & Communications, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim; are to serve as members.
The commissioner disclosed that he was the secretary of the taskforce
Also speaking, Nsirim announced the reopening of public places such as parks, cinemas and restaurants that would operate within the hours of 6am to 9pm daily.
Nsirim stated that night clubs and bars as well as Oil Mill Market and Slaughter Market, Oginigba remain closed.
He said that all the reopened public places must however adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols or face severe sanctions.
On her part, Aguma said the state government reviewed the compliance of citizens as it relates to Executive Order 16 on the conduct of marriages in the State.
Aguma stated that henceforth applications for marriages should be accompanied with an affidavit stating that there would be no reception.
According to her, a fine of N1 million awaits defaulters of the extant regulations.
She added that chairmen of local government areas “are to be held responsible if they fail to monitor compliance in their various areas.”
Giving more details on the directive, Chike said that Council also reviewed issues regarding public burials during the COVID-19 period.
According to him, all public burials in the state are to be conducted in line with the official gazette of the state, which stipulates that not more than 50 persons are allowed at such ceremonies.
Chike stated that henceforth, families applying for burials should provide death certificates and an affidavit that they must adhere strictly with all COVID-19 protocols.
He said defaulters would be liable to a fine of N1 million while council chairmen are to ensure that the directives are complied with in their various areas.