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Wike Blasts FG Over Fight Against Coronavirus …Inaugurates 24-Man Palliatives Implementation C’ttee, Today …As RSG Begins Move To Distribute Foodstuffs To Residents

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has berated the Federal Government for politicizing the fight against the spread of Coronavirus, describing the selective support to states as unfortunate.
In a broadcast, yesterday, Wike condemned the exclusion of Rivers State from the Federal Government grants in the fight against Coronavirus.
He noted that despite the exclusion of the state, Federal Government has continued to endanger the state by flying expatriates into Rivers State.
Wike said: “It is quite unfortunate that the containment of Coronavirus has been politicized by the Federal Government. While Lagos State received a grant of N10billion as a commercial hub, Rivers State as the nation’s oil and gas hub that produces a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth has not received any support from the Federal Government.
“One wonders why Federal Government should single out a state out of 36 states to give support. Does it mean that support will come when a state has a record of over 50 infected persons before it gets support. No state should be seen as more important than any other state. This is a Federal Republic. No state is superior to others.
“Rivers State is entitled to support from the Federal Government. Every day, we are inundated with letters from the Federal Government to allow oil companies to fly in expatriates to drill oil. Then we ask, what is the status of those coming from Lagos? Nobody has told us their status as regards Coronavirus.
“If they come to come Rivers without us knowing their status, what will be implication assuming they have the virus.”
Wike announced that all markets in the state shall operate between 7am and 12noon on April 7 and April 8, 2020 to allow residents shop for Easter and also replenish their stock of foodstuffs.
He declared that Oil Mill Market, Mbiama Market and Slaughter Market will remain closed till further notice.
He said: “All markets in the state except Oil Mill Market, Mbiama Market and Slaughter Market at Trans-Amadi shall be open on Tuesday, April 7, and Wednesday, April 8, 2020 from 7am to 12noon. After those two days, the markets will remain closed. This is to enable residents shop for Easter and also replenish their stock of foodstuffs.
“Oil Mill Market, Mbiama Market and Slaughter Market at Trans Amadi shall remain closed till further notice.”
The governor announced the dissolution of the board of RTC for the notorious operation of illegal franchise scheme.
“The Board of the Rivers State Transport Company (RTC) has been dissolved with immediate effect. All those operating a franchise scheme in the name of the company are advised to desist forthwith. Anyone who violates this directive, will be arrested and prosecuted. Government took this measure because the franchise scheme of RTC has become notorious for illegal activities that compromise the interest of the state,” he said.
Wike directed security agencies to fish out and prosecute persons who slaughter animals in the Bush for public consumption.
He said: “Our people must understand that lives are more important than profit.
“We are constrained to note again that despite our directive, commercial vehicle operators have refused to maintain social distancing. Their action portends grave danger because they place the entire society at risk of the virus.”
The governor announced the setting up of a committee to work out modalities for implementation of the state government’s palliative programme.
“In line with our decision to provide palliatives to cushion the hardship being faced by our people, government has decided to set up a committee to work out modalities for the smooth implementation of this directive. This committee reflects all interest groups.
“The members are: Amb Desmond Akawor (chairman), Mrs Inime Aguma, Dr Bariere Thomas, Chief David Briggs, Mrs Florence Amiesimaka, Mrs Stella Ichenwo, Mrs Anthonia Kpakol, Hon. Edison Ehie, Mr Samuel Nwanosike, Hon Hope Ikiriko, Mr Latteh Loolo, ACP Innocent Umerie (representative of Nigeria Police Force), Hassan Yahaya (DSS), Lt-Col Bello (Nigerian Army), AC Mathew Pama (Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps), Wing Commander Comfort Visah (Nigerian Air Force), Lt-Commander C.J. Udeh (Nigerian Navy) Ven Richard Opara, Alhaji Abdulrazaq Diepriye, Monsignor Pius Kii, Archbishop Felix Ezebunwo, Mrs Vivian Braide, Prince Ohia and Pastor Paulinus Nsirim (Secretary).
“This committee will be inaugurated tomorrow, Monday, April 6, 2020 at the Government House, Port Harcourt by 12noon. Attendance of the inauguration ceremony will be strictly for members of the committee,” he said.
Wike gave an update on the state’s index case, saying that she will be discharged soon.
He said: “We are grateful to God that the index case of the virus is now negative. As soon as we receive the confirmation result, she will be discharged from the treatment centre. We also thank our frontline health professionals who have displayed a deep sense of professionalism and patriotism during this trying period.
“The state government is also grateful to all Rivers people and private individuals who have contributed to support us in this fight. At the appropriate time, government will publish the names of these individuals.
“May I urge our religious leaders to continue to intercede on behalf of the state as we fight to contain this virus.
Once again, let me restate that with your continued support, Rivers State will remain safe.”
Wike emphasised that all borders of the State remains closed.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government will today, inaugurate the 24-member committee set up to work out modalities for the implementation of palliatives to cushion the hardship faced by citizens of the state as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
A statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications and Secretary of the committee, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, advised members of the committee to be seated at 11.30a.m, adding that attendance of the inauguration ceremony would be strictly for members of the committee.
Meanwhile, The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, announced that his administration has set in motion the platform for the distribution of food palliatives to Rivers people following the sit-at-home directive to check the spread of the novel Coronavirus in the state.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt, yesterday, after inspecting the State Food Bank established for the distribution of the food palliatives, Wike explained that a state committee would be set up to implement the distribution of the foodstuffs.
Wike was accompanied by service commanders, who are members of the State Task Force on Enforcement of the Ban on Public and Religious Gatherings.
The governor said: “We inspected where we kept the relief materials for our palliative programme. Our intention is to ensure that we mitigate the impact of the sit-at-home directive.
“We are going to set up a committee for the distribution of the foodstuffs meant to serve as palliative for Rivers people.”
At the State Food Bank, the state government has rice, garri, beans, noodles, yam, palm oil and salt to be distributed to the less privileged in all the 23 local government areas.
Wike warned against the politicisation of the fight against Coronavirus, saying that all stakeholders must make sacrifices.
“We say to our people, this is not a time to play politics. Nobody should play politics with the lives of people. Everybody has to make sacrifices to make sure everyone stays alive,” he said.
The Rivers State governor said that the state government is prepared to tackle the deadly virus.
He said: “For now, we are not hundred percent ready, but we are about 90 per cent ready. Luckily for us, we have no serious cases.
“The confirmed case is doing very well. They have sent her samples and it came out negative. The final sample has been sent and we are expecting the results.
“We are doing quite well. All members of the State Security Council are working together to ensure that we prevent the spread of Coronavirus.”
On the monitoring of the compliance by churches, the governor said the task force was happy with the level of cooperation from the churches.
Wike said: “We are happy with the level of compliance that we have seen throughout Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City local government areas. The churches complied.”
The task force monitored compliance at Omega Power Ministries (OPM); Saint Patrick’s Anglican Church, Rukpokwu; and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chaplaincy, Catholic Institute of West Africa, Rumuibekwe.
Wike also inspected the progress of work at the State Isolation/Treatment Centre under construction.
“We have visited this location to see the readiness of the isolation/treatment centre in Port Harcourt. Even though they failed to deliver the job on Saturday as promised, we are confident in the next four days, it would have been completed”, he said.

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RIVERS Approves Review Of 2020 Budget

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The Rivers State Executive Council has approved the review of the 2020 Budget in line with the present economic realities occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Accordingly, the State’s 2020 Budget has been reviewed by 48 percent from N530,813,357,619.00 Billion to N300,370,071,183.00 Billion.
The State Commissioner for Finance and Supervisory Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Isaac Kamalu announced on Wednesday, while briefing journalists after the State Executive Council Meeting presided over by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Mr. Kamalu stated that the State Executive Council also gave approval for the review of the 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, accommodating a downsizing of the budget, pointing out that the decision was taken in consideration of all necessary parameters geared towards offering the state purposeful service and effective leadership.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Sunny Ejekwu said the State Executive Council also approved a Free Bus Scheme with a fleet of 28 Luxury Buses to convey commuters free of charge during this COVID-19 period.
He said the Scheme which would start from Monday, June 1,2020 is part of measures introduced by government to ameliorate the sufferings faced by those living and doing business in the state.
Mr. Ejekwu announced that the Free Buses would convey commuters in Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Eleme and Oyigbo Local Government Areas.
The Commissioner also stated that wearing of facemasks would be a compulsory requirement for any commuter who would want to enjoy the free service.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim announced the setting up of an Executive Council Committee to work out modalities that would outline conditions that would be met by those who intend to bury their loved ones  during this period.
According to him, the Committee is headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo while the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zaccheus Adangor, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Thomas Bariere, Commissioner for Youths, Mr.Prince Ohia and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, Mr Dax Kelly are to serve as members.
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COVID-19 Decisions Are Taken By State Security Council – Governor Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that the State Security Council takes all decisions  in  the prosecution of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

Governor Wike who stated this on Tuesday when the Executive of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Rivers State Chapter paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt pointed out that he has never taken any unilateral decision.

The State Chief Executive noted that all decisions taken by the State Government are for the overall good and interest of the Rivers people as no right thinking government would deliberately take decisions that would negatively affect the lives of the people.

 

“I don’t take decisions alone in the fight against COVID-19. All decisions are taken  by the State Security Council and they are for the overall interest of Rivers people.

” You know people applaud government decisions when it  suits them but when it does not favour them they say it is  politically motivated.

“Rivers State Government does not have anything against hoteliers in the state, but decided to shutdown their activities because some cases of  COVID-19 were recorded in hotels,” he stated.

Governor Wike also blamed the hoteliers for failing to assist government in providing relevant information regarding those that test positive of the coronavirus in their hotels.

According to him, adequate information would have helped  the State Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies to carry out proper contact tracing.

“Its not possible that the State Government will intentionally close down hotels. But what I see is that people play politics with everything.

“The  demolition of Prodest Hotel and Etemeteh Hotel in Eleme Local Government Area by the State Government became necessary because the owners failed to comply with  Executive Order 7,” he said.

 

The State Chief Executive stated that he is more pained than any other person in the state that churches and mosques are not holding their full religious activities because of COVID-19.

“I can’t believe that I will be sitting here as a Governor and take a painful decision that will make  churches and mosques not to hold full religious activities, ” he said.

The Governor lauded members of the State Chapter of Nigeria Hotel Association for identifying with government efforts in the fight against COVID- 19.

 

Earlier, the State Chairman, Nigeria Hotel Association, Mr. Eugene Nwauzi commended Governor Wike for leading the fight against coronavirus in the country.

Mr. Nwauzi noted that but for the efforts put in place by the Governor, the spread of COVID-19 would have taken a dangerous dimension in the state.

He however appealed to the State Government to  relax the ban on hotel businesses, assuring that all protocols put in place for the containment of the spread of the virus would be fully observed by hoteliers.
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RSG Cancels Lockdown Of Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt Local Government

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? 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

Rivers State Government has cancelled the proposed lockdown of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas scheduled to resume tomorrow.

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.

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.

The Governor commended all health workers who have continued to put their lives at risk in the forefront in the battle against  COVID-19.

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