The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has said he did not unilaterally take the decision to demolish two hotels in the state for allegedly violating COVID-19 order in the state.
The destruction of the hotel had attracted outrage among Nigerians, with one rights group, SERAP suing Mr Wike at the ECOWAS court for violation of the rights of residents of the state.
“I don’t take decisions alone in the fight against COVID-19,” a statement issued by the Rivers State government quoted Mr Wike to have said on Tuesday when the executives of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Rivers chapter, paid him a visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The statement was signed by the commissioner for information in Rivers, Paulinus Nsirim.
Mr Wike said all decisions, apparently including the decision to demolish the two hotels, are taken by the Rivers State security council. “And they are for the overall interest of Rivers people,” he added.
The governor said no right-thinking government would deliberately take decisions that would negatively affect the lives of the people.
He said people only applaud government decisions when it favours them.
“Rivers State government does not have anything against hoteliers in the state, but decided to shut down their activities because some cases of COVID-19 were recorded in hotels.
“It’s 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.
“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.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike said hoteliers in the state failed to assist the government in providing information on those that test positive for COVID-19 in their hotels.
“If such information were provided, health workers would have carried out proper contact tracing which could have helped halt the spread of coronavirus in the state,” he said.
The Rivers State government in an earlier statement said a manager in one of the demolished hotels tested positive for COVID-19.
There are 121 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Rivers as of May 26.