The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has introduced measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the state, including making it mandatory for everyone in the state to wear a face mask whenever they are in the public.
Mr Wike, in a state-wide broadcast on Monday, said “All inward-bound vehicles and flights into Rivers State from oil and gas companies with workers for crew change or other essential operations must first submit details of their manifests to the state’s taskforce on COVID-19 for proper vetting of their virus status before they can be allowed to enter the State”.
Mr Wike in the past has expressed frustrations in getting oil and oil-related companies in the state to cooperate with his administration’s fight against the novel coronavirus.
The Rivers government recently arrested two pilots working with Caverton Helicopters, charged them, including their 10 passengers, for flying into Port Harcourt in violation of the lockdown order in the state. The government went on to seal Caverton facility in Port Harcourt.
The Rivers government also arrested 22 ExxonMobil workers who drove into the state from neighbouring Akwa Ibom.
Mr Wike in his latest broadcast to residents in the oil-rich state appealed to logistics companies, especially Caverton Helicopters and Bristow, to cooperate with the new measures introduced by the administration and “refrain from jeopardizing the lives of our people for the sake of making profits”.
The governor as part of the new measures ordered a total lockdown of two local government areas – Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor – from May 7 till further notice.
The residents of the two areas must stay at home for 24 hours, the governor declared.
Commercial tricycles, otherwise known as keke, operating in the state are to carry two passengers only, while taxis are to carry three passengers per trip, according to a new order by the governor.
Hoteliers in Rivers must provide the state task force on COVID-19 with manifest of guests already lodged in their hotels before the introduction of the new measures, Governor Wike said.
The governor announced a N100,000 reward to whistleblowers who would give information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of violators of the latest order.
“This Government is focused and therefore will not allow itself to be distracted on its battle against COVID-19,” the governor said.
“However, we will neither tolerate nor hesitate to deal with anyone who dares to fabricate lies to rubbish the hard work and sacrifice we are making to save the lives in our state just to advance parochial partisan interests.
“I wish to reiterate that the hard choices we have to make as a government and as a people over the COVID-19 pandemic are all premised on upholding the sanctity of human life.
“As a government, we cannot abdicate this compelling responsibility and abandon our people to chances in the midst of this much dreaded and ravaging pandemic.”
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