Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has announced a 24-hour total lockdown and a dusk to dawn curfew on Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas of the state as part of the state government’s measures to check the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
Wike in broadcast, yesterday, said, “Consequently, we have decided on the extreme measure of placing the entire Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City LGAs under a 24 hours total lockdown from May 7, 2020, until further notice.
“With the declaration, all residents of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City LGAs must stay at home.
“On no account should there be any vehicular movements or gathering of more than two persons in these Local Government Areas, except those on essential services with appropriate authorization.
“All shops, trading or business activities, including currency exchange, in these councils must also remain closed until further notice.
“All landlords are advised to ensure that no shop or trading activity is opened or carried out in or around their premises or risk the confiscation of their property by the government.
“Any person, group or institution that violates the lockdown and curfew in these councils will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
He directed the immediate arrest and prosecution of Chief B. Worgu and Mr Isaiah Abraka for sneakily organizing night markets in defiance of existing ban on such activity. Wike said given the threat posed to the state by oil and gas company workers, it has reviewed all entry waivers and permits earlier granted to oil and gas companies.
He said, “From now on, requests for waivers and entry permits from oil and gas companies will be considered on a case by case basis; all inward-bound vehicles and flights into Rivers State from oil and gas companies with workers for crew change or other essential operations must first submit details of their manifests to the State’s taskforce on COVID-19 for proper vetting of their virus status before they can be allowed to enter the state.
“All operators of chartered flights into Rivers State for oil and gas operations, especially Bristow and Caverton Helicopters, should please comply with this directive and refrain from jeopardizing the lives of our people for the sake of making profits.”
Wike warned the Chief Medical Director of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital to stop politicalizing the issue of coronavirus in the State with his rascally, irresponsible and ill-motivated utterances. “I wish to reiterate that the hard choices we have to make as a government and as a people over the COVID-19 pandemic are all premised on upholding the sanctity of human life.
“As a government, we cannot abdicate this compelling responsibility and abandon our people to chances in the midst of this much dreaded and ravaging pandemic.”
He pointed out that the latest of these positive cases was the 14th case that was flown in to Port Harcourt by Bristow Helicopters from an offshore oilfield facility in Akwa Ibom State on April 29, 2020.
He said, “These positive cases have shown and confirmed our fears that unvetted entry of oil and gas workers from Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere remains a potential source for the importation and spread of COVI/D-19 in our state.
“We have also observed with disappointment the persistent disobedience to the state government’s lawful orders and or directives on COVID-19 by a number of communities and residents, especially in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City councils despite repeated warning.
“On the whole, we can all see that COVID-19 cases confirmed across the country are growing in numbers, meaning that the situation in our state, although still relatively low, can change for the worse, if we relax our measures or become complacent.
“In view of the foregoing, government has resolved to impose additional measures by the Executive Order, I have just signed, which are targeted at reinforcing our efforts toward stopping the spread of the virus in the State, as follows: All residents must wear face masks before stepping out of their homes to the public space; The operations of all private motor parks, taxi ranks and loading bays throughout the State is hereby prohibited; No commercial taxi driver should carry more than three passengers in his vehicles per trip; government will give N100,000 to any whistle blower who gives out relevant information leading to the arrest and prosecution of any person, hotelier or motorist that violates these directives.
The Governor said all hoteliers must provide the State Task Force on COVID-19 with the manifest of those already lodged in their hotels before the coming into effect of this directive.
Wike noted that while the state government was battling the importation of this virus, the greatest threat to people’s lives is posed not from outsiders but by those residents who are refusing to comply with the established directives and change their behaviour to conform to the new experience.
Delta State government, yesterday threatened to quarantine anyone seen in public without wearing facemask in any of the isolation centres in the state.
State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, who stated this while briefing newsmen after a meeting of the Technical Committee for the Prevention of Covid-19 in the state, said the measure was part of effort to contain the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Explaining that the lockdown was relaxed for economic reasons, he noted that it should not jeopardize the safety of the people.
He reiterated that the compulsory use of face mask by all individuals appearing in public has commenced across the state, adding “Persons seen in public without the mask will be taken straight to the isolation centre, because it will mean that you have the virus and want to infect others.”
Also, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the state has told Nigerian workers to imbibe and internalise the new culture of personal hygiene, including the use of facemask and observance of social-distancing while interacting in public places.
Okowa in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, commended the workers for their support and contributions to the growth and development of the state.
He said, “Stop the pandemic at work,’ theme of this year’s commemoration of the Day, is strikingly apt, especially with the global fight against the Coronavirus disease.
In another development, Edo State government yesterday said it never released any photograph of the fleeing Covid-19 patient, a nursing mother, who is wanted for treatment in the state.
A statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie said, “Our attention has been drawn to a video on social media by a lady who claimed her photos have been circulated on social media wrongly as the nursing mother wanted for COVID-19 treatment by the state government.’’
Meanwhile, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has extended the stay-at-home order on citizens in the state by one week.
Diri also made mandatory the wearing of face masks in public in compliance with the presidential directive noted that violators risk prosecution. The governor gave the fresh directive during a meeting of the state’s COVID-19 taskforce and other top government officials in Yenagoa. Diri in a statement said the state had adopted the imposition of the nationwide curfew from 8p.m., to 6a.m., effective from May 4, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Orogho community in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, yesterday, decried alleged extortion of its citizens by policemen from neigbhouring Jesse community which is in Delta State. Speaking to newsmen on behalf of the community, Charles Eghaghe, alleged that the DPO of the police state had connived with the people of Eboropolo community in Ethiope, Delta State to extort them in the guise of enforcing the Covid 19 lockdown in Agosa-Orogho community.
“I want to use this opportunity to tell our Edo State government about what is happening and how the police in Jesse are conniving with some people in Eboropolo in Ethiope to enforce the lockdown order in Agosa-Orogho.
“Agosa-Orogho is in Orhionmwon, Edo State and not in Delta State. They are also using the lockdown to extort our people. They have seize the machines belonging to our people and taken them to Jesse police station,” he alleged the prove in Jesse denied the allegation.
Chairman of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Chief Michael Diden, has donated bags of rice, beans, cartons of noodles, tubers of yam, gallons of vegetable oil and cash to the poor and vulnerable in Asaba, Warri, Sapele, Koko and Oghara as part of his contribution towards alleviating the sufferings of the people occasioned by the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
Presenting the items, Diden told residents of the state to comply with the state government’s directives on the containment of the coronavirus in the state.
He commended the people for their patience and understanding, urging them to practice personal hygiene, social distancing and regular washing of hands with running water and use alcohol based hand sanitizer in the absence of water.
Succour has come to 200 households in Ikot Monde Itam in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, as Nigerians of Akwa Ibom and Cross River States’ extraction in the Netherlands have given palliatives to them.
Presenting the food items on behalf of the donors to beneficiaries, Mr Mfon Effiong, said that the donation was sent by Akwa Ibom and Cross River indigenes resident in the Netherlands, as palliative to the community to cushion the economic effect of the Covid 19 pandemic.
According to him, the donation was borne out of sincere love and feelings the group has for the people during the lockdown occasioned by coronavirus pandemic.
Also, wife of Edo State governor, Mrs Betsy Obaseki has appealed to residents of the state not to despair as the lockdown continue to take its toll on the socio-economic life but urged them look at the good side of the Covid19 pandemic and maximize the opportunities that it has provided.
Mrs Obaseki while presenting palliatives to indigent and the vulnerable persons, mainly non indigenes and widows in the state at the Edo State Government House, Benin City, tasked the beneficiaries to ensure that those who truly need the materials get them.
She said the distribution of relief materials would be continuous as the state continues to identify those who are the most vulnerable at every stage of the pandemic.
She advised Edo people to use the period of the lockdown to take the necessary rest that makes for good and healthy living, strengthen family bond and most importantly find innovative ways of improving their economic lifestyles.
In supporting the Federal Government efforts on palliative distribution in the country to the less privileged, Hazie Masters Club of Nigeria has donated food items to three different vulnerable homes in Lagos.
Speaking during the presentation of palliative to spinal cord injuries association of Nigeria, Beth Torrey Handicap/mental challenges Amuwo Odofin and SOS Isolo Lagos, the club which was led by the financial secretary, Chief Emmanuel Nwobum, said the gesture was in line with the club’s commitment to bringing smiles to the faces of the less privileged in the society especially those who find it difficult to help themselves.