The dreaded Coronavirus afflicting the entire world engaged the attention of Government House, Port Harcourt, last week, compelling the State Governor to make double state-wide broadcasts in days.
In a state-wide broadcast last Monday, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, announced the closure of public parks, night clubs, and cinemas.
The Governor also banned public burials, weddings as well as open worship services across the state.
He said after due consultations with religious leaders, it was agreed that all religious organisations were to temporarily stop all forms of open worship, public burials and wedding ceremonies.
The State Chief Executive called on traditional rulers and opinion leaders in the state to assist the State Government to implement Government directives concerning the spread of coronavirus.
Governor Wike, in the broadcast also set up border surveillance monitoring teams to ensure that there was no case of illegal entry or exit from the sea, land and air, stressing that defaulters would be seen as enemies of the state and would be made to face appropriate sanctions.
Noting that the essence of governance is to protect lives, Governor Wike said the state Government could not afford to be indifferent when the COVID-19 continues to claim lives worldwide.
“We urge everyone to remain calm and maintain social distance. We shall continue to review the situation and adjust accordingly.
“Like I said in my broadcast last Friday, these decisions may seem painful for all of us but there is no price that is too much to pay for us to stay alive”, the Governor said.
Before the state-wide broadcast, Governor Wike had earlier, same day, interfaced with religious leaders where they brainstormed and arrived at some crucial decisions, particularly, on social distancing and other strategies to avoid spreading the virus among their members.
It was agreed that, to ensure social distancing, not more than 50 persons should worship at a particular time and hall and to spread out worship time to admit fewer people per time.
Governor Wike, who was compelled to make a second broadcast in the week, precisely on Thursday, however, confirmed an index case of Coronavirus in the state.
“It is however unfortunate that despite all the preventive measures we put in place, our state has recorded a positive case as confirmed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCNC).
“The positive case is a 19- year old female model from Edo State who resides in Port Harcourt. Her travel history reveals that she travelled to France, Italy and Greece before returning to Port Harcourt on the 16th March, 2020.
“On arrival to Port Harcourt, she was symptomatic and commenced self isolation in her family house before her samples were collected and sent to the Reference Laboratory, Irrua, Edo State”, he said.
The Governor explained that the patient who was being managed at the State Treatment Centre was responding excellently well and urged all to remain calm as the State Government was fully prepared to ensure that the incident was contained to avoid further spread.
He said that State Government had commenced contact tracing of all those the 19-year old lady had contact with.
Governor Wike announced the closure of all markets across the state with effect from Saturday, March 28, 2020.
He also directed civil servants from grade levels 1 to 10 to stay at home indefinitely.
Governor Wike called on Council Chairmen to head the Taskforces on compliance while Commissioners and Special Advisers were also to monitor compliance in their various local government areas.
Governor Wike, who, over the weekend, led the State 12-manTaskforce on the Enforcement of ban on public gatherings in order to check spread of the dreaded virus to various places, expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance.
He assured that palliative measures to cussion the effects of the ban on some economic activities would be considered during the second phase of the coronavirus pandemic containment programme in the state.
Enugu Assembly Approves N200m Virement For Auditor-General Offices
The Enugu State House of Assembly has approved the virement of N200 million for the offices of the State Auditor-General and Auditor-General for Local Government.
The Tide source reports that the house also passed the 2021 State Audit Amendment Bill at an emergency plenary session.
The Leader of the House, Mr Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, said the approval of the virement became necessary to provide funding for the two newly created offices, which were not envisaged during the 2021 appropriation bill.
Ezeugwu said the funding would include capital and recurrent expenditures, adding that the N200 million would be provided by the office of the governor.
According to him, the virement would give the offices the needed independence to effectively discharge their statutory responsibilities.
Also contributing, the member representing Awgu South Constituency, Mr Johnson Chukwuobasi, said the new offices would be redundant without funding.
The Speaker, Chief Edward Ubosi, said the fund was meant to perfect the Audit Amendment Bill passed by the Assembly.
Ubosi said it would be an irony to create the offices without approving funds that would make them functional.
He said such a development would amount to building something on nothing.
In another development, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has forwarded a list of nominees for the State Civil Service Commission (SCSC) and Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) to the House for confirmation.
The nominees for the SCSC included Mrs Eucharia Offiah (Chairman), Mr Nathaniel Anike, Mrs Chinenye Odike and Mrs Stella Ekweremadu (members).
Also nominated for the LGSC were Prof. Ossy Okanya (Chairman), Mr Frederick Ugwu, Mrs Florence Igboji, Mr Peter Nnaji and Mr Eugene Odoh (members).
The Speaker directed the nominees to submit 25 copies of their Curriculum Vitae on or before Monday, August 2 to the House.
Saraki Was Not Arrested – Aide
Former Senate President Bukola Saraki, has broken his silence on his repeated invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, stating that as a free citizen, he has nothing to hide.
Saraki in a statement by his Media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said he visited the office of the EFCC on his volition to clarify an issue that the commission may have to raise with him.
He clarified that he was not arrested but he made himself available to show he has nothing to hide.
Saraki in the statement wrote: “It will be recalled that following the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on the Fundamental Human Rights case filed by Dr. Saraki during the period of the former chairman of the EFCC which precluded the commission from investigating him until the matter is dispensed with, the commission at the last hearing on July 14, 2021, pleaded with the judge that the order was preventing them from doing their job.
“Following this complaint, Dr. Saraki, as a responsible citizen, on his own volition approached EFCC that at the earliest convenient date, he was willing to visit the commission’s office and clarify all issues they might have to raise with him.
“He, therefore, visited the commission’s office on Saturday (31st July) afternoon and also answered some questions.
“He is back home. He was not arrested,” Part of the statement read.
Saraki also assured EFCC that he has nothing to hide and will always make himself available to clarify any issues that may require his attention.
Jegede: PDP Lambasts Akeredolu
The Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has reacted to the statement credited to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, inviting Mr Eyitayo Jegede to join him in moving the state forward.
Akeredolu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the October 20, 2020 state governorship election had his victory in the election upheld by the Supreme Court last Tuesday.
Shortly after the judgement of the apex court, the governor called on Jegede, the candidate of the PDP to join him to move the state forward.
In a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Mr Kennedy Peretei, on Saturday, the PDP described the Akeredolu’s invitation as a laughable one.
According to the statement, the PDP said the current administration in the state is a failure and Jegede will not be part of such administration.
The statement read, “Our party and its candidate cannot be part of a government that has thrown out many students of tertiary institutions in the state because their parents can no longer pay the astronomical school fees charged by the Akeredolu Government.
“Our party and its candidate cannot be part of government that has crippled the health care system in the State. We cannot be part of a government that has withdrawn free shuttle buses for school children.
“It is unthinkable that Akeredolu can ask our candidate to join a government that has pauperised civil servants in the state through the payments of 30 per cent salaries that are not even regular. Civil servants now have to take loans to be able to pay house rents or send their children to school. The Academic Staff Union of Universities of Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa Chapter has just embarked on an indefinite strike. What has been the government’s response to all these myriad of problems?
“It is important to stress that, before the October 2020 election, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN and the PDP drew up a well-articulated manifesto on education, health care delivery, agriculture, industrialization, welfare of civil servants and much more in contradistinction to what is obtainable now in the state. To this extent, there is no meeting point between what was designed by the PDP and Akeredeolu’s score card.
“The Supreme Court verdict has also exposed the impunity which is the trademark and the foundation of the APC and its government at all levels. All the seven Justices of the Supreme Court agreed that, Mai Mala Buni acted in clear violation of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended). This has become the talking point of the political space since the judgement was delivered. Our jurisprudence on election matters has been enriched and everyone is grateful to Eyitayo Jegede and the PDP for not allowing the APC to drown our democracy in the sea of their impunity.”
The opposition party advised Akeredolu to channel his energy to improving the welfare of Ondo citizens instead of “grandstanding and clicking of wine glasses over the Supreme Court judgement”.
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