The Rivers government on Sunday demolished two hotels in the state for allegedly flouting COVID-19 order in the state.
Governor Nyesom Wike, after issuing an order recently banning hotels from opening their doors for business in the state to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, had repeatedly warned that any hotel caught violating the order would be demolished.
The two hotels that were demolished are Prudent Hotel, Alode, Eleme, and Etemeteh Hotel, Onne, according to a statement from Mr Wike’s media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu.
Mr Wike personally monitored the demolition, Mr Nwakaudu said.
It appears one of the destroyed hotels is owned by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is the ruling party in Rivers state.
“If we can do this to a PDP person, then you know we are not discriminatory,” Mr Wike told reporters. “Whether you are in PDP, SDP or no party, you must obey the law. If any other person does the same thing, the same rule will apply.”
The governor said, “Government has no alternative but to apply the Executive order which I signed before the lockdown of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt.
“I called all the Traditional Rulers and Council Chairmen and told them to ensure that no hotel operates in the State. We are not saying it will be forever. This is for now, so that we know where we are, to reduce the cases and check the spread.
“We said no hotel should operate within this period. Unfortunately, the PDP youth leader in Eleme joined others to flout the Executive Order. Therefore, the executive order will be applied.”
He explained why the Rivers government is focusing on hotels in its fight against the coronavirus.
“Look at the rate of infections, most of these people are found in hotels. Look at the man that died, he was at Mingi Hotel in Rumumasi. Due to that contact, we have had other seven cases.
“People should help us and support government for Rivers people to be safe. Security Council will meet to review the strategies and achievements or setbacks, moving forward.
“All we are doing is to protect our people. Some people may not like our strategies, but our objective is to achieve results.”
Mr Wike’s administration has taken some other controversial decisions in the past in its fight against the coronavirus, including the arrest of oil workers who were accused of entering Rivers State in violation of the lockdown.
The governor has repeatedly said that the lives of the people in Rivers must be put above business and has vowed to take on businesses, including oil and gas companies, if they do not cooperate with his government as far as the coronavirus is concerned.
There are 21 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Rivers State as of April 9.
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