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Rivers Assembly Congratulates Governor Wike On One Year Of Second Term …Restates Commitment To Quality Representation

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Rivers State House of Assembly

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -The Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, principal officers and members have felicitated with Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State on the occasion of successful one year into his second tenure in office.

In a statement, Rt. Hon.Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, observed that despite the limitations occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, and the associated risks, that the governor has continued to provide purposeful leadership and dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.

The stamen said: “It is worthy of note that you commenced your second term with a combination of project commissioning and flag- off of new ones amongst which are:

“Simultaneous construction of three Flyovers, Inauguration of Pleasure Park Cinema, Rumuokurushi-Elelenwo-Akpajo Road, Real Madrid Academy, Rumuowoji (Mile One) Market, Ogbunabali (Fruit Garden) Market, Nigerian Labour Congress House, Dualized Birabi Street New GRA, inaugurated Bonny/ Adaka Boro and Elliot Henry Streets in Old Port Harcourt Township amongst others.

“In addition, your response to check the spread of the covid-19 pandemic in the state is legendary in provision of isolation centres and palliative for the most vulnerable households in the twenty three Local Government Areas across party lines”, even as the speaker restated the commitment of lawmakers to ensure quality representation and good governance under the watch of the governor as the Leader of the State.

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Death Of ED: NDDC Shut Down, Complex For Decontamination As Staff Are Directed To Self Isolate

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Coronavirus

(By Chris K.Amadi) – Following the sudden death of the Executive Director of Finance at the crisis-ridden Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Chief Ibanga Bassey Enang, on Thursday, the headquarters of the commission along the Port Harcourt – Aba express way has been shut shut down and all staff directed to vacate the complex. They were further advised to go on self-isolation for two weeks while the premises are being decontaminated.

This indication emerged from an internal memo dated 28th May 2020 with reference no: NDDC/HO/HAHR/3, and which was signed by Silas Anyawu on behalf of the management.

Meanwhile, there are strong fears that the Executive Director may have died of coronavirus, as the directives and shutting down of the NDDC complex appear to be consistent with the protocol on dealing with CONVID -19 cases. The commission, according to the memo is to remain shut for two weeks from 28th May, 2020.

Recall that the fraud infested NDDC, which was set up as an intervention agency in the Niger Delta has since been turned into a money making machine by some political gladiators and their collaborators in the commission, and presently a forensic audit is on going to unravel the looting of so many years and the characters behind them.
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COV-19: Celebration In Rivers As Wike Cancels Lock Down

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Coronavirus

 

* Imposes state-wide curfew 8p.m to 6a.m from June 2, 2020 till further notice
* Uncovers plan by one Bobosky to instigate violence in 6 LGAs
* investigating alleged outbreak of coronavirus in Bonny LGA
*Traders Plead For Opening Of Markets

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Rivers State Government has cancelled the proposed lockdown of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas scheduled to resume today.

Governor Nyesom Wike who stated this in a state-wide broadcast also announced the imposition of 8p.m to 6am curfew in the 23 Local Government Areas of the State with effect from June 2, 2020 till further notice.

According to a statement issued by Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for Information and Communications, the Governor also revealed that government has uncovered plans by some criminal elements led by one Bobosky to cause security breaches in Khana, Eleme,Gokana, Tai, Oyigbo and Ikwerre Local Government Areas.

“After a comprehensive review of the measures taken and further considerations placed before us by well-meaning members of the public, the State Security Council has decided to cancel the proposed lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt 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.

“As we all know, the regular washing of hands, religious wearing of face masks, keeping effective physical and social distance of between 1.5 to 2 meters from other people, completely avoiding touching of faces with unwashed hands, and cleaning of surfaces we regularly touch have been identified as some of the most effective measures against contracting this virus in the absence of vaccine, ” he said.

According to the Governor, government would re-enforce the decisions on the continuous implementation of the following measures throughout the State:

(i) All land borders, including all exit and entry routes into Rivers State shall remain closed to human and vehicular traffic, except those on essential services and duly exempted.

(ii) All residents must wear face masks or covering into any public space, including our roads, banks, shopping malls, shops, hotels and in any lawful social gathering.

(iii) The State task force and the security agencies have been directed to arrest and summarily prosecute any person seen on our streets or any other public place without wearing face masks.

(iv) All banks, motor parks, hotels, restaurants, shops, business centres, shopping malls, and offices must maintain social distancing and enforce the wearing of face masks in their premises.

(v) The State task force and security agencies have been directed to seal up, prosecute and confiscate to the State any bank, shopping mall, restaurant, shop, business place or office that fails to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks in its premises.

(vi) In addition to providing daily guest list to the Police and the Department of State Security, hoteliers must not host large gatherings, including parties and receptions. Defaulting hotels will be sealed-up and the owners summarily prosecuted.

(vii) All bars, beer palours, or drinking joints, night-clubs, viewing centres, open markets and cinemas shall remain closed until further notice;

(viii) Oil mill market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall remain closed until further notice;

(ix) Oginigba Slaughter market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall similarly remain closed until further notice.

(x) Mbiama market in Ahoada West Local Government Area shall also remain closed until further notice;

(xi) All public weddings, burials and large social gatherings shall remain banned.

(xii) Churches and other religious gatherings should continue to comply with the existing advisory on social distancing, initiate temperature checks and enforce the wearing of face masks during their activities;

(xiii) Dealers in Ikoku Spare Parts markets are warned for the last time to stop converting public roads to mechanic workshops or risk final closure.

(xiv) Similarly, no mechanic workshop should be found along Ikwerre road as Government will prosecute defaulters and confiscate any vehicle being repaired on any public road.

(xv) Private and commercial vehicles, including tricycles must continue to limit their passengers to the number earlier established and enforce the wearing of face masks by all passengers. Defaulters will be prosecuted and their vehicles confiscated by the Task force.

These measures, he said, are in the best interest of our State, to protect our lives, businesses, and jobs as well as, to prevent our troubled economy from suffering irreparable damage.

“This also means that, residents now bear much greater responsibility to stop and prevent our State from suffering the exponential and potentially devastating spread of the virus being experienced across the

“As 60% of the positive cases recorded in the State are connected with oil company workers, we have initiated a meeting with all the major oil companies to work out strategies on how we can stop this trend and stop the risk this category of workers now pose to the State.

“Government is also investigating the rumored or suspected outbreak of the coronavirus at Bonny Island.

“Our team of medical personnel led by the Commissioner for Health has visited Bonny Island and collected samples from suspected cases for analysis and immediate intervention should the results indicate the outbreak of the virus in the area, “the governor said.

The State Chief Executive also revealed that intelligence has intercepted a clandestine plan by some criminal elements led by Bobosky to cause security breaches in the State by instigating violence and burning down churches in Khana, Eleme, Gokana, Tai and Oyigbo Local Government Areas of the State.

He assured all residents that the State Government is fully ready and prepared to deal with the situation and continue to guarantee the protection of lives and property throughout the State.

The Governor implored all residents to be vigilant and report all suspicious characters and movements in their neighbourhoods to security agencies.

“Leaders and vigilante groups in our communities are to work with the security agencies to enforce curfew in their localities and arrest and prosecute anyone that violates the curfew order.

“We urge our people to stop the fake news on social media; stop the baseless bickering, the needless blame game, and the seditious rumours that does no good to our image or provide any solution to the common challenges that we face.

“Rather, we should all come together, put our fate in our own hands and work for the common good of all, whether as individuals, families or as communities,” he stated.

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Wike Relaxes Lock Down In Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor For Six Days, Inaugurates State Community Policing Committee

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike (middle); with heads of security agencies, monitoring compliance with the directive on shutdown of markets to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Rivers State

 

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Rivers State Government has suspended the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas for six days, with effect from Thursday, 21st May 2020.

Governor Nyesom Wike stated this on Thursday in a State-wide broadcast.

“Residents and visitors of these local government areas can therefore go out of their homes for their lawful businesses from tomorrow morning, that is, Thursday May 21 until 8.00 p.m., Tuesday 26th of May 2020, when the lockdown will be restored and maintained until further notice.

“It is important to emphasized that the relaxation only allows for free human and vehicular movements and the opening of limited businesses, such as banks, supermarkets, shopping malls and grocery shops.

“All land, sea and air exit and entry borders and routes into Rivers State shall remain closed.

“Similarly, all open markets, motor parks, hotels, bars, night clubs, in-service restaurants and barbers’ shops must remain shut.

“Religious gatherings of more than 50 persons remain prohibited.

“All public weddings, burials and other social gathering also remain prohibited.

“Private and commercial vehicles, including tricycles must continue to limit the number of passengers to two persons only.

“The wearing of face masks or coverings in public spaces, including commercial and private vehicles remains compulsory as contraveners would be arrested and summarily dealt with as the law demands,” he stated.

The Governor enjoined all residents to continue to maintain social distancing in every space, including vehicles, bank premises and shopping places as required by the subsisting regulations.

He warned that those who refuse to comply with these duly established orders and restrictions would be arrested and prosecuted, as usual, for deliberately endangering themselves and the lives of others in the face of this deadly virus.

“Before long, we will flatten the curve, gradually lift the restrictions, restore normalcy and open up the State fully for business.

“But until then, we will continue to ask for is your patience, cooperation and religious compliance with the established measures to curb the spread of this virus”,he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Wike has inaugurated the State Community Policing Advisory Committee, SCPAC, and State Community Policing Committee, SCPC, with a charge to members to sustain the peace in the state.

The State Community Policing Advisory Committee has 17 members while the State Community Policing Committee has 9 members with the State Chairman of Traditional Rulers Council, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja as Chairman.

Speaking during the inauguration at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Governor Wike who was represented by the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, charged members of the committees to discharge their duties according to their constitutional mandate.

Governor Wike also enjoined members of the committees to ensure that the peace already attained in the state is maintained in order to attract investors .

“Rivers State is a peaceful and hospitable state and we will like to see that these committees add value to what the Governor has been doing to keep the peace in the state.

“We will like to assure the committees that the state government is committed to support security agencies in the fight against crime and criminality with the provision of adequate logistics,” he stated.

In his speech, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu represented by the Supervisory Deputy Inspector General of Police, South-South Zone, Anthony Ogbizi Michael said the inauguration marked the commencement of community policing in the state.

While noting that community policing had existed right from the time of the colonial masters, the Inspector General of Police said the inauguration of the committees would be replicated at different levels in the state by the State Commissioner of Police create community ownership.

” Partnering together, solving security problems together, definitely will foster peace, and we will all know were there is peace and social harmony, there will be development,” he added.

Also speaking, the State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan said the inauguration of the State Community Policing Advisory Committee, SCPAC and State Community Policing Committee is a deliberate move by the Police to bring policing closer to the people.

“The power of Community Policing is derived from the Police Order 291 which deals on Community Policing and empowers the police at all levels to engage in active partnership with law abiding citizens and government agencies to collectively and collaboratively solve problems of crime, he added.

In his response, the Chairman of the State Community Policing Committee, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja lauded the State Governor and the Commissioner of Police for the confidence reposed on members of the committees and assured of their commitment to serve the State.

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Simeon Nwakaudu: Reflection On Temporary Earthly Existence

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Late Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, Governor Wike's Special Assistant on Electronic Media

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Simeon Nwakaudu, Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike’s Special Assistant on Electronic Media until last Sunday when he passed after a brief illness at the Rivers state University Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt was a well rounded media professional – versed not only in story writing but also in advanced writing.

The truth is that, it is not every one who claims to be a journalist that is good at advanced writing – which involves the crafting of opinions, features etc. The reason is because, it takes knowledge and command of language; a lot of thinking, research and discipline to make a mark in advanced writing and not many people have the skill to deliver in this area.

Interestingly, Simeon Nwakaudu combined the requisite skills and attributes, enabling him to excel in his assignments to the admiration of all. In the few years that he has worked with the Governor of Rivers State, late Mr. Nwakaudu demonstrated that he was a fit and proper person for the job. He also complimented his dexterity in writing with excellent social skills.

Although not originally based in Rivers prior to the political activities that led to the emergence of the Wike administration, late Simeon Nwakaudu, on finding himself in the state related well with all and sundry, including the relevant media stakeholders with out difficulty. One can only imagine how devastating, the news of his passing on Sunday was to the media community and all who have crossed his path in Rivers State and beyond.

The untimely demise of Simeon Nwakaudu, at a time his family, the Rivers State Government and the society needed his services most only reminds one of the wise sayings of Thomas Kempis and Fr. Ignatius Emefor that, “a man is here today, but tomorrow he is no more”. And the reality that “a man, adorned with all his glories , potentialities, and his earthly possessions shall leave this world one day shows the terrible temporality of our earthly existence”.

Although it is true, a sad one at that, that Simeon Nwakaudu’s candle has been put out suddenly by death, something however will not die with him: the memories of his deeds will live in the minds of those who know him. It is therefore not surprising that condolence messages are pouring in from people from all walks of life and political persuasions, including Dr. Dakuku Peterside, for mer contender for the office of governor in Rivers State on the platform of All Progressives Congress and Senator Magnus Abe, a flamboyant Rivers politician who had the privilege of representing Rivers South – East in the Senate.

The Management and Staff of Notable Outcome, the distinct and global newspaper, pray God to receive his soul and also console his family, the Government and people of Rivers State over this painful loss.

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Over 3000 swedes have microchips under their skin

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Thousands of people in Sweden are inserting tiny microchips under their skin — making their lives much easier as they no longer have to carry IDs, gym passes, and keycards to get into work.

But it’s not without data risks.

About 3,000 Swedes have inserted the tiny chips into their bodies over the past three years, according to AFP.

The electronic tags are about the size of a grain of rice and are implanted in the back of the hand via a syringe.

“The technology is incredibly convenient,” said Ben Libberton, a microbiologist working for MAX IV Laboratory, to Euronews.

Many employees use them to get into their office buildings, as a gym pass, to buy food from vending machines, and even instead of using train tickets.

In a year, some 130 passengers signed up for Sweden’s SJ national railway microchip reservation service.

Personal data risks

Libberton warns that by having a microchip implanted in your hand, you also give your data away.

“The real issue is data handling, which will be an issue later on with how data is stored… if the data is not secure, someone can get your information and once it’s out there, it’s hard to get back.”

He also warns that some people could even be giving their data away without even realising it in the terms and conditions they sign.

Nevertheless, microchips have been hugely popular in Sweden, with some companies even holding so-called implant parties for their employees.

Epicenter, a digital hub in Stockholm that houses more than 300 start-up labs for larger companies, has made the chip available to its workers and to its member organisations in recent years.

One reason why microchips have been a success in Sweden is that “as it’s a smaller country, most people have a great deal of confidence and also confidence with authorities,” says Libberton.

That could explain why more people are getting the microchips in Sweden than in other countries

 

{EURONEWS}

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Marginalisation In Fight Against COV-19: Rivers Deputy Governor Urges Group Not To Cry More Than Bereaved

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(By Chris K. Amadi) – The Office of the Deputy Governor of Rivers state has faulted a statement by a group known as Centre for Public Trust that Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry – Banigo, Rivers Deputy Governor, who is a public health professional is being sidelined in the fight against COV-19 in Rivers State, wondering why the group should be crying more than the bereaved.

A statement issued by Owupele Benebo, Head of Press in the Office of the Deputy Governor said that there is no iota of truth about Governor Nyesom Wike’s alleged sidelining of his Deputy, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo as regards COVID-19 or indeed any programme or policy of the State Government, adding that she has continued to enjoy a cordial and robust relationship with the Governor from the inception of this Administration in May, 2015 to date.

While acknowledging that the Deputy Governor is a Public Health Physician, the statement adds that it is uncharitable to insinuate that Governor Wike would be jealous of his Deputy, when he has very impressive credentials himself, as a Life Bencher, a two-time Chairman of Obio Akpor Local Government Council, a former Chief of Staff, Government House, a former Minister of State (Education), former Supervisory Minister of Education and a Second Tenure Governor of Rivers State.

The statement further emphasized that Governor Wike has continued to demonstrate leadership in the country in the fight against COVID 19, being the first Governor in Nigeria to close his state’s boarders, and first in other initiatives against the spread of COV-19 in Rivers State.
“The upheavals about Governor Wike and his Deputy concerning COVID 19 is absolutely unnecessary, because the Governor himself cleared the air in a Live Television Programme that his Deputy has been contributing her quota in the quest to stem the COVID 19 onslaught.
“Our advice to them is simple: do not cry more than the bereaved and please do not try to be more Catholic than the Pope, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo is fine and is totally committed and loyal to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in his quest to protect the Rivers People against COVID 19”, the statement concluded.

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COVID-19 In Rivers: Wike Lifts Lock Down For 2 Days For Residents To Buy Foodstuffs, Medicines; Says Demolition Of Hotels In Accordance With Law

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Hotel Governor Wike demolished over the weekend in Rivers over violations of Executive Order

 

(By Silas Ofori) – Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State has announced the temporary lifting of the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas for two days.

In a State-Wide broadcast on Sunday night, Governor Wike said that the total lockdown will be lifted on Tuesday 12th May, 2020 and Wednesday, 13th May, 2020, and would be reinstated on Thursday, 14th May, 2020.

He said: “Consequently, we have given due consideration to the propositions on the way forward by well-meaning citizens of the State, and after a cautious review of the situation, decided to implement a partial relaxation of the lockdown measures, to enable residents to have some fresh air and replenish their foodstuffs and medicines.

“To this end, I hereby announce the temporary lifting of the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Governments Areas for two days only, with effect from Tuesday 12th May 2020.

“All shops, supermarkets, and malls can open to the public for Tuesday and Wednesday, 12 and 13 May 2020.

” Similarly, all hospitals and banks can also open and provide full services to the public;

“While oil and gas companies are required to submit the list of their staff on essential duties to Government, note that there is no ban on the lifting of petroleum products from depots and other receptacles.

“The total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas will be reinstated on Thursday 14th May 2020 and remain until further notice.”

Governor Wike said all other established restrictions under the Executive Orders on social distancing are still in force.

He said: “Compulsory wearing of face mask or scarfs in vehicles and public places;

• closure of all land, sea and air borders and entry routes into the State; and

• closure of all open markets, including slaughters, hotels, guest houses, cinemas, bars and restaurants; and

• ban on gathering, including public burials, weddings, and religious gathering of more than 50 persons.Once again, thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

“Please note that our enemy is invisible. Stay at home, maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly and stay safe.”

He said every measure the State Government has imposed was dictated by an assessment of the state’s situation, the trend of transmission and the conviction that it was the right thing to do in the circumstance.

“As a Government, we are doing our utmost best, in the face of daunting challenges, to prevent COVID-19 from taking hold in Rivers State; to stop any possible community transmission of this disease before it is too late.

“And we shall continue on this trajectory because the alternative would spell a greater disaster for our State and our people.

“More so, when these are not arbitrary measures but fully prescribed and backed by the ordinary laws of our State, especially, Executive Orders numbers: 1 to 6.

“So far, all our measures and actions are not arbitrary but fully prescribed, guided and backed by the ordinary laws of our State, especially Executive Order numbers 1 to 6, which apply equally to all persons throughout the State. As a Government, we are obliged to enforce our laws, and in the present circumstance, we have done so without fear or favour,” he said.

He added: “We equally made it loud and clear that in the fight against COVI/D-19 there would be no sacred cows; no double standards, and no sentiments of any kind, whether political, ethnic, religious, status, emotional or otherwise.

“In the last few days we have pursued with vigour and secured several convictions against those who intentional violated our COVID-19 containment laws in the same way others States are doing.

“The forfeited trucks to be auctioned by the Deputy Sherriff were not confiscated arbitrarily by the State Government, but by the orders of our Courts.”

Governor Wike stated that the demolition of the two hotels in Eleme was done in line with extant laws.

He said: “Similarly, we acted against the hotelier because, apart from using the facility to jeopardize the lives of our citizens in violation of the extant law, the owner audaciously unleashed thugs lead by the Eleme Local Government Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party and inflicted severe injuries on our task-force members who went to enforce the law against the continued operation of the hotel.

” As we speak, nobody knows the fate of the lives of most of the victims of that brazen and deadly attack given the severity of the head injuries they sustained.

:And so, we’ve done no wrong as all our actions were taken in good faith and justified by, under and within the purview of the Executive Orders, which have neither been challenged nor set aside by any competent court of law.”

The Governor said he remains focused on protecting Rivers people.

He said: “Therefore, while we welcome genuine criticisms directed towards strengthening our intervention measures; it is no use joining issues with uninformed critics and social media legal practitioners who, blinded and prodded by sheer politics, bias and hatred, have opted to demonized and paint our lawful and responsible actions in bad light.

“Granted that we may not have totally achieved our targets, but we are convinced that, so far, the lockdown and the other measures have impacted greatly in containing and preventing the onslaught of the pandemic on Rivers State.

“We therefore thank the entire people of Rivers State for the overwhelming understanding you have shown even as you continue to endure the pains of the restrictions on your wellbeing and fundamental freedoms.”

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Smuggling Of People Into Rivers To Escalate COVID-19 Pandemic Worry Wike   … 8 Trucks With 200 Persons Arrested, Friday

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Coronavirus

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – On Friday, 8 May, 2020, eight trucks with 200 persons hidden in loads of grains  coming from the northern part of Nigeria were arrested in Port Harcourt for violating the total lock down order in Rivers State which became operative on Thursday.

In a broadcast on Friday, Governor Wike of Rivers State alerted the world that the state was in dilemma in the fight against the spread of coronavirus following alleged willful sabotage of the security agencies and hypocrisy on the part of the Federal Government that may lead to escalation of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

He said: “This being so, it has become imperative to alert the State and in deed, the entire world, of the fact that a dangerous escalation of COVID-19 pandemic in Rivers State looms large in our horizon due largely to the hypocrisy of the Federal Government and the continuous acts of willful sabotage by security agencies.

“Therefore, while we cannot overstate the gravity of our present predicament, nobody should be surprised should Rivers State witness exponential increases in the infection and spread of COVID-19 cases in the days and weeks ahead as we begin intense testing.

“Nevertheless, our resolve and commitment remain strong and total; and as we continue to urge everyone of us to treat this as a matter of life or death, our message to you remains constant: obey our directives to stay at home and protect yourself, your family and our State from the spread of COVID-19. There is certainly no choice on this. Staying at home and staying safe for now is not just mandatory; it is the best available option in the circumstance.”

Governor Wike added: “Our borders continue to experience serial acts of sabotage by security operatives, who allow, and in some cases, personally aid persons with risky COVID-19 status into the State.

“As recently as yesterday, we intercepted a lorry-load of livestock with 22 persons who bribed their ways into Rivers State from as far as Adamawa State despite the Federal Government’s claimed restriction on inter-state travels and our definitive closure of all entry routes into the State.

“Even today, we intercepted, yet, another 8 trucks with 200 persons hidden in loads of grains and being smuggled into the State from the northern parts of the country.

” Indeed, the extent of sabotage was such that, even a Deputy Commissioner of Police unilaterally appropriated and exercised powers to illegally issue movement pass to individuals and companies indiscriminately in utter contempt and direct violation of the lockdown orders of the State Government.”

The Governor rewarded Rumuigbo Community with N5m following the role their vigilance group played in intercepting a truck that had people hidden in it.

He said: “Let me express my appreciation to the overwhelming majority of Rivers people for complying with the “Stay at Home and Stay Safe” orders, including the temporary closure of business outfits and activities throughout the State.

“In particular, I wish to commend the Rumuigbo community vigilante for rising to the challenge, as any responsibly community should do, by intercepting a lorry-load of livestock with 50 persons who illegally entered the State in violation of the lockdown orders.

“For this show of courage and patriotism, the State Government will reward the Rumuigbo community with the sum of N5,000,000.00 only.

“However, quite unfortunately, there are some residents who have chosen to put themselves and the larger public at the risk of infection with their irresponsible show of disobedience to our restrictions on human and vehicular movements during the lockdown.

“As a Government, a strong one for that matter, we have the responsibility to act decisively on the side of the law to safeguard the safety of our State and its residents.

“And so, as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to graduate and make its way through the State, these actions, inactions and counter-actions from the the security agencies are rather amplifying the risk of a public health disaster in our State.

“From all indications, no matter what we do or try to do to fight this battle, it is becoming clear by each day that those forces bent on forcing COVID-19 pandemic on our State are not willing to cease their evil plot and intentions.”

The Governor said the state Government will not shirk in its duty to the people. He said the Government will unleash the full and severe weight of the law against any person or body of persons, who attempt to put themselves and other innocent people at the risk of spreading this disease in Rivers State.

He said: “While we appreciate the intervention and plea of clemency from well-meaning Rivers citizens, it is our position not to condone any sentiments on this matter because of the seriousness of the situation.

“What we can assure everyone is that all those arrested for violating the relevant Executive Orders would certainly have their day in court and due process would be the hallmark of any punishment that they may suffer if duly convicted as prescribed by our ordinary laws.

“Accordingly, the undermentioned vehicles, whose owners have been convicted and the ownership thereof already forfeited to the State, will duly be auctioned by the Deputy Sheriff of the State High Court:

(i) IVICO Truck with Reg. No. KBK 336 XA;

(ii) DAF Truck with Reg. No. Adanawa MUB 20 YH;

(iii) HOWO Truck with Reg. No. Adamawa HNG 608 XA; and

(iv) DAF Truck with Regi. No. PKM 48594 XA

“Truth be told, those who claim to be conveying essential food items into the State during this period of total lockdown are barefaced liars who are up to something more sinister.

” How and who can they sell their items to when all the markets, hotels and business outfits in the state have been closed down? Let all be warned that we’ll have none of such tricks in Rivers State at this very trying period.”

The Governor confirmed the three new cases in the state and gave a breakdown.

“Unfortunately, despite our determined efforts, the State recorded three new cases, bringing our total confirmed COVID-19 infections to 17 as at the 7th of May 2020.Unfortunately, despite our determined efforts, the State recorded three new cases, bringing our total confirmed COVID-19 infections to 17 as at the 7th of May 2020.

“While two of the new cases were contacts of an existing case, the third case is from the Diobu area of Port Harcourt, who has no travel history or conceivable contact with any other contaminated person.

” This situation points to two critical scenarios, which we must pay attention to. First, the threat of COVID-19 among us, is real, and second, the threat is growing as the number in infections and localities continues to rise and expand.

“While two of the new cases were contacts of an existing case, the third case is from the Diobu area of Port Harcourt, who has no travel history or conceivable contact with any other contaminated person.

“This situation points to two critical scenarios, which we must pay attention to. First, the threat of COVID-19 among us, is real, and second, the threat is growing as the number in infections and localities continues to rise and expand,” he said.

He reiterated the state’s concerns over the outrageous actions of Rivers enemies who continue to destabilize the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the State.

He said: “Our borders continue to experience serial acts of sabotage by security operatives, who allow, and in some cases, personally aid persons with risky COVID-19 status into the State.

“As recently as yesterday, we intercepted a lorry-load of livestock with 22 persons who bribed their ways into Rivers State from as far as Adamawa State despite the Federal Government’s claimed restriction on inter-state travels and our definitive closure of all entry routes into the State.

“Even today, we intercepted, yet, another 8 trucks with 200 persons hidden in loads of grains and being smuggled into the State from the northern parts of the country.

” Indeed, the extent of sabotage was such that, even a Deputy Commissioner of Police unilaterally appropriated and exercised powers to illegally issue movement pass to individuals and companies indiscriminately in utter contempt and direct violation of the lockdown orders of the State Government.

“And so, as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to graduate and make its way through the State, these actions, inactions and counter-actions from the security agencies are rather amplifying the risk of a public health disaster in our State”, Wike lamented.

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Wike: No COVID-19 Testing Centre In Rivers; No Material Support From Federal Government

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – In spite of the strategic importance of Rivers State in the economic equation of Nigeria, the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, is yet to establish a laboratory in the state for COVID-19 testing. This disclosure was made by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State at a press briefing in Port Harcourt on Friday, adding that the state is yet to get any material support from the Federal Government.

Governor Wike, who stated that the Federal Government has been selective in its support to states, with Kano State being the latest to enjoy prompt response and generous support shortly after the Governor complained of neglect, stressed that Rivers has long been pleading with the government at the centre for support without success.

He hinted that Rivers State has so far recorded 13 cases of infection, two recoveries and two deaths, even as he decried the politicization of security by the Federal Government, resulting in the compromise of professionalism and rules.

His words: “We are virtually fighting this battle without any tangible material support from the Federal Government. We are wondering as most of you may also be, that up till now the NCDC has not established any testing center in the State in spite of our position, huge socio-economic and demographic mix and high transmission threat hanging over us as a result. Was this deliberate? If not so, why and what was the justification for this dangerous neglect, which is obviously limiting our capacity to expand testing for this virus in the State.

“But, for us as a Government, every single new infection of COVID-19 in our State is one too many. We shall therefore continue to take every necessary measure to control and possibly end the transmission of this disease in Rivers State in spite of the enormous challenges and lack of concrete support from the Federal Government.

“It is for the very reason that we have taken our fate in our own hands with the establishment of the Border security task force, which has been mandated to provide and ensure a water-tight situation in all our entry and exit points and prevent any unauthorized entry and or exit of persons and vehicles into the State during the period of the closure.”

He further observed: “The logical conclusion therefore, is that the pattern of transmission of COVID-19 in the State is evidentially predicated on outside importation just as the rate of infection and progression is also relatively low and arithmetical, when considered from the date of the index case.

“Generally, we believe that unless there is a sudden and vertical slide into community transmission, we expect our COVID-19 infection and prevalent rate to continue along this low trajectory, which gives us the assurance that our hard work is paying off and Rivers State is certainly not in any dangerous position when compared to most other States, and we will never be by God’s special grace.

“This is not to say that we are at the peak of this crisis and that everything about the containment and transmission of COVID-19 is under control. No; we are not, because of the challenges occasioned primarily by the negative elements that continue to undermine and sabotage our efforts to protect our people from this disease.

” For instance, the 7th infected case was an offshore oil and gas worker who went and passed a night in a Lagos hotel before returning to Port Harcourt on the 9th of April 2020 with the aid of the security personnel manning our borders. When his symptoms started, he was admitted to a private hospital, (St. Martin’s Hospital) on the 20th and discharged on the 21st of April 2020. Had the security agencies not compromised their responsibility at the borders, this man would have been prevented from coming into Port Harcourt with this virus and threaten the lives of other people for over two weeks before he was evacuated to the treatment center.”

To re -enforce the fight to check the spread of coronavirus Governor Ezenwo Wike also announced the compulsory use of face masks in the state and that the State Security Council will in the next 24 hours take stringent measures against commercial transport operators for their failure to observe social distancing.

He said: “The wearing of face mask in all public places is now compulsory throughout the State.

” The State’s Security Council will meet in the next 24 hours to consider and approve necessary mitigating measures for commuters, including the deployment of Government buses to shuttle designated public routes free of charge.”

Governor Wike said though the State Government agrees with President Muhammadu Buhari on the gradual re-opening of the country, it will continue to take critical steps on the peculiarities of the state.

“While we agree with Mr. President’s decision to gradually re-open the country for business, we shall be guided by the peculiarities of our State on when to relax the measures we have put in place and gradually restore business activities to the State.

” Until then, I wish to restate that we love all residents of Rivers State. Please maintain social distancing, stay at home, wear face mask in public places and stay safe, ” he said.

Governor Wike said that his administration has trained health professionals to tackle coronavirus, procured relevant Personal Protective Equipment for frontline workers, purchased and received Ventilators for the treatment of infected people.

He added that the State Government has taken delivery of 250-bed Isolation Centre sponsored by the private sector, treatment and holding centres established by State Government and received one GeneXpert RT-PCR testing machine from TOTAL E & P, which is ready to be used and will be deployed for testing in the State.

The Governor added that Pamo Hospital has also donated another PCR machine to Rivers State, improving capacity of the State Government to test for coronavirus.

On the distribution of palliatives, the Rivers State Governor said, “Reports reaching us from independent monitors indicate that, so far, both Committees are creditably executing their respective mandate in spite of the difficult logistical challenge that is involved.

“As a matter of fact, the Procurement Committee has so far purchased and delivered to our ware houses local food items, including garri, yam, beans, fish, palm oil, plantain, tomatoes and onions worth over 590 million naira.
“The Food Distribution Committee has successfully distributed food packages to vulnerable households in 16 Local Government Areas, namely: Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Ikwerre, Eleme, Omuma, Bonny, Opobo/Nkoro, Tai, Okrika, Etche, Akuku Toru, Asari Toru, Oyigbo, Gokana, Khana, and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni.”

Governor Wike reiterated that the Strategy of his administration is to contain, prevent or minimize the spread of the disease and save the lives of Rivers people.

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