Governor Nyesom Wike Wednesday appealed for patience and support of tense Rivers state populace to defeat Coronavirus (COVID-19) as the impact of State Government preventive orders bites harder on the people.
Wike’s appeal comes as the harsh reality of the state Governor’s restrictions, especially the 24 hour curfew on specific localities in capital Port Harcourt metropolis pit the affected residents against security operatives and the Governor’s personally headed enforcement task force.
Following the perceived failure of residents to comply with government directive closing markets across the state, Wike had punitively imposed the curfew on Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction, and Obiri Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba with effect from March 31, 2020, till further notice.
By 1 April (Wednesday), over 200 defaulters have been allegedly arrested and arraigned at a Port Harcourt Magistrate Court, just as others were said to have been molested by the security operatives for wandering while some shop owners had their wares destroyed for flouting the closure of markets order.
Wike while receiving Indomie Noodles donations from Dufil Prima Foods Plc, at the Government House Port Harcourt, said he was aware of the associated hardship the people were passing through but pointed out that the sacrifice was necessary to defeat Coronavirus.
Represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Bariere Thomas, the Governor said, “COVID-19 is what we didn’t expect, but we are prayerful, believing the situation is not going to last forever.
“We call on our people to cooperate with government and remain at home. It is better to stay hungry and be alive than to die while eating. We expect our people to cooperate with government even as we remain prayerful”
He assure that the donated food items would be distributed to the needy, imploring more donors and non-governmental organizations to join hands with the government to ensure that the hard times being faced by the public were cushioned.
Meanwhile, on the perceived excesses of the state government and abuses by security operatives over the Covid-19 restrictions, former Spokesman of Rivers All Progressives Congress (APC), Chris Finebone, chided the government for not acting with human face in the enforcement of the orders.
Finebone asked, “Did Coronavirus originate from a Rivers that so much vengeance is being visited on her inhabitants in this manner? I am not sure Wuhan (China community where the virus originated) and her residents saw what Port Harcourt residents are seeing right now.
“Nobody is saying the Governor should reinvent the wheel. Anybody effort to immobilize Coronavirus must be supported by all.
“We all support the lockdown. However, if government cannot be innovative in going about it, at least they should copy what is happening elsewhere wisely and correctly. Lockdown we se in other places have human face.”