The Rivers State Government says it has intensified efforts in tracing those who had contacts with the 19-year-old female model that tested positive for the novel Coronavirus in the state in a bid to prevent more persons from contracting the disease.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, and Chairman of the state Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, stated this during a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, last Saturday, and monitored by The Tide.
Nsirim also clarified that the state government did not ban church programmes but emphasised that government only directed religious leaders to scale down their activities and observe social distancing.
He explained that as a proactive leader, Governor Nyesom Wike did not wait for Coronavirus to hit the state before he set up a five-man inter-ministerial committee to mobilize and enlighten Rivers people on the pandemic.
“We did that with the media and developed Radio and Television jingles, and set up billboards. We distributed handbills, had stakeholders’ engagements with relevant stakeholder groups to ensure that these messages got to the grassroots before we had the news of the pandemic hitting Rivers State.
“Now, His Excellency does not want this Coronavirus to spread. That is why he has also introduced all the painful measures of border closure, market closure, to ensure that social distancing is appreciated by the people living and doing business in Rivers State.
“Now, for the index case that has been recorded, government has ensured that contact tracing is going on and to make sure that it doesn’t spread to other people living and doing business in Rivers State.
“I try to explain to people who have been calling me everybody in Rivers State, now is vulnerable because of the index case that we have. The young lady that came into Port Harcourt came in a flight with some people. Those people are scattered all over this state now.
“The lady stays somewhere with her parents and siblings. They have had contact with people. You don’t know who they have had contact with, and the governor, in his wisdom, is saying ‘let’s restrict movement so that we can do what it takes within our powers to ensure this thing is contained’.
“I can assure you that the relevant authorities and those who are given the mandate to tackle this epidemic are doing their best, having full cooperation of those that are involved in the contact tracing, and I believe very strongly that the cooperation they are getting will help us to tackle this pandemic here.
“The treatment centre is fully functional, and the index patient is doing very well. So, now, it behoves all those living and doing business in Rivers State, to comply with the various measures that have been put in place, including security agencies who will be manning the various border posts to ensure that the restriction order is actually implemented to the letter.
“The governor has also set up a 12-man task force headed by himself, because it is something he takes dear to heart as a patriot. He doesn’t want to delegate this responsibility. He set up a 12-man task force he is heading, has all the service commanders, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Attorney General of the State and Commissioner for Justice, the Commissioner for Health and myself as secretary, as one that will go round and ensure compliance.
“All commissioners and special advisers have been directed to move to their various local government areas, be part of the enlightenment drive, and to also ensure and enforce all the directives up to the ward level. That is where we are as a state right now, and we believe strongly that with the cooperation of all those living and doing business in Rivers State, we will overcome this challenge,” the commissioner said.
On the perceived misunderstanding concerning church activities, Nsirim reiterated that the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, only directed that the number of persons for every service should be reduced.
“Government cannot ban churches from holding their programmes. His Excellency is a peoples’ leader. Before a pronouncement was made on this matter, all the religious leaders were called to Government House for an interaction. At that forum, the pros and cons of everything were weighed, and the decision was that for smaller churches, let the services not go beyond 50 persons per session.
“For the bigger ones, a 100 or so that we can maintain social distancing in these churches,” he stated, adding that “churches must provide places where people can wash their hands and possibly provide sanitizers and equipment to check temperature of those entering the church”.
On alleged reports that people were being allowed into the state despite the Executive Order by the governor for the closure of all land and sea borders, Nsirim said, “That information has filtered in and government is investigating. The governor cannot be at the border posts.
“This is a responsibility that he has delegated to the security agencies to handle. So, it will be quite unfortunate if there is a compromise at the borders,” Nsirim said, noting that appropriate punishment will be meted out to anyone found culpable in sabotaging government directives.
By: Dennis Naku
One Year Anniversary: Governor Wike Sues For Unity
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on Rivers people no matter their political affiliation to join hands with his administration to build a stable and vibrant economy.
In a state-wide broadcast to mark the first year of his second term in office today, Governor Wike noted that the state can overcome the present global economic situation if citizens come together in unity of thought and purpose.
“Yes, we can if we resolve to downplay our individual differences and work together for the common good of our heritage, our lovely State, our communities and our people. As a government, we welcome constructive criticisms devoid of politics and mischief, because they serve to make us better performers.
“This is a time for governance, not politics, and we welcome everyone on board to create an environment that promotes balanced economic growth, thriving private investments, boundless opportunity and a State we can truly call our pride and heritage.
“For us, nothing matters more than Rivers State, our people, our interests, our treasures, our enormous resources and assets, our accomplishments and our greatness,” he stated.
The Governor pointed out that within the last one year, his administration had embarked on urban renewal programme in the State capital and the construction of the multi-billion naira three flyover projects at Rebisi, Okoro-nu-Odo and Rumuogba.
He said that the dualization of Kira- Sapkenwa-Bori-Kono Road straddling three local government areas in Ogoni heartland has reached 92 percent completion.
The Oyibo(Mbano camp) road to Iriebe linking Oyigbo and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas had been completed while Alesa-Agbonchia-Oyigbo, Rumuakunde/Isiodu and the second phase of Isiokpo community Roads had also been completed.
Rumuji-Ibaa-Isiokpo, Omoku-Egbema, Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye, Ula Ehuda-Odioku-Anwunugboko-Ubeta-Ihuechi-Odiereke, Umueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Umuelechi-Eberi, Eteo-Sime-Nonwa and Abonnema Ring Roads have reached various stages of completion.
In addition, the governor said, work has commenced on the expansion of the entire stretch of Ikwerre Road from Education Bus Stop to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
According to him, the long abandoned roads to the coastal communities of Opobo and Andoni in Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni Local Government Areas has almost been delivered with appreciable work already done on the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road.
On healthcare delivery, the governor said the Mother and Child Hospital has been furnished, equipped and only undergoing necessary testing and preparations for commissioning.
The Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, he said, has been fully equipped and converted to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) leading to the accreditation of the programmes of that facility for the training of medical students by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
Governor Wike stated that the regional referral hospitals in Degema, Bori and Degema are presently being equipped while structural work is on-going on the ones located in Omoku and Etche.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that funds had been released for comprehensive upgrade of Enitonnia High School, Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Obama High School, Degema, Community Secondary School, Tombia, Community Secondary School, Omuanwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area and Kalabari National College, Buguma.
Others include, Community Secondary School, Kugbo in Abua/Odual Local Government, Community Secondary School, Obeakpu in Oyigbo Local Government and Community Secondary School, Eteo in Eleme Local Government Area.
On Real Madrid Academy, Governor Wike announced that the construction of students’ hostels is progressing and that the school would soon open for simultaneous football and related training programmes.
He said in line with the promise to refocus on agricultural development, the Datco Cassava Processing Plant with a guaranteed off-market opportunities for 3000 local cassava farmers would soon be completed to stimulate cassava revolution in the state.
The governor regretted that despite the advisories and regulations on social distancing and compulsory wearing of face masks, most residents are flouting the directives to the collective peril of all.
“These are all irresponsible and risky behaviour in the face of the invisible and ravaging pandemic and the enormous threat it poses to public health and the safety of human lives.
“We shall bring the full weight of the law to bear on every recalcitrant person, business or institution, irrespective of status who decides to treat the existing orders and regulations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our State with contempt.
“Government may be forced to reinstate lockdown if members of the public continue to flout and disregard the established regulations on social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks,” he said.
Governor Wike however, commiserated with the families of those that lost their loved ones to the pandemic and prayed for the peaceful repose of their innocent souls.
He said that while we pray for the quick success, for the global search, for vaccines, the responsibility still rests on everyone to strictly comply with the established mitigating measures.
A Statewide Broadcast By His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS, To Mark The First Year Of His Second Term In Office …My Dear Good People of Rivers State
Rivers State Set To Inaugurate Cassava Plant …To Employ 4,500 Persons
The Rivers State Cassava Processing Company located at Afam, Oyigbo Local Government Area will soon come on stream.
Governor Nyesom Wike who stated this Thursday after inspecting the plant, pointed out that the company when fully operational would employ 4,500 persons and also boost agriculture in the state.
He stated that the State Government has 70 percent equity share in the project which is in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) of Nigeria.
“We are quite happy that this project which was initiated by the previous administration in 2012 and abandoned has come to the stage of completion.
“When we came on board and saw the usefulness of this project to our economy, we did not hesitate to release funds to complete it.
“As you can see this project which is about 90 percent complete would have been commissioned this month if not for the COVID-19 pandemic which has negatively impacted global economy.
“Let me commend the management of this plant for fast-tracking the completion and the novel initiative that will use mobile machines to collect cassava from the farmers at their various clusters.
“This, will no doubt, reduce the challenge of logistics and increase farmer participation, ” the governor stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Company, Ruben Giesen noted that the cassava processing plant when completed would increase income for small holder farmers by providing an enabling environment for them to sell their cassava tubers.
He also disclosed that the plant would produce about 45 thousand metric tons of cassava flour daily while about 12 thousand metric tons of cassava tubers would be needed for collection by its mobile plants from farmers around the state for processing.
Mr. Giesen commended the State Governor for embarking on the project, which he described as the first of its kind in sub-saharan Africa.
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