The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has once again claimed that the federal government has been unfair in its support to the federating states in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“NCDC is building laboratories in Lagos, Ogun and Kano, without building in Rivers State,” Mr Wike said on Thursday while receiving the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, who was recently posted to Rivers State. “This is a state that is exposed to several foreign and local visitors with no single federal intervention.”
Mr Wike’s remark is contained in a statement from his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu.
Mr Mukan replaced Mustapha Dandaura, the former police chief in the state, who was redeployed to Abuja on April 17.
Mr Dandaura was transferred out at a time the Rivers State government ordered the arrest of oil and oil-related workers accused of entering the state in violation of a lockdown order.
Governor Wike told the new police chief Nigeria would suffer, if the nation’s leaders continue to politicise COVID-19.
The governor said he was criticised when he demanded federal support to fight the coronavirus.
“But the northern governors and the Kano State government has demanded for assistance.
“Initially, the Kano State governor criticised the federal government over lack of support. When the support came, he said the federal government is doing well. If they also support Rivers State, we will also commend the federal government,” he said.
The governor urged the police and other security agencies to work with the new “Task Force on Border Closure” so that Rivers could be “properly” secured.
Mr Wike, according to the statement, said containers coming into the state with essential products must be thoroughly checked to prevent people from being ferried into the state.
Mr Wike said his administration will support any police commissioner posted to the state. He, however, said the new police chief would be transferred “immediately Abuja discovers he is working well”.
The Rivers governor recently criticised the federal government for giving a N10 billion grant to Lagos State to fight the coronavirus while “abandoning” other states of the federation.
Mr Wike said Lagos is Nigeria’s commercial hub, but that Rivers, as the nation’s oil and gas hub, “produces a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth” and therefore deserves federal support.
“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?
“No state should be seen as more important than any other state. This is a Federal Republic. No state is superior to others,” the governor said.
“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 Rivers without us knowing their status, what will be the implication assuming they have the virus?”