COVID-19: Rivers cannot be a pariah state – Gov Wike

By Willie Etim and Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has stated that the state cannot be a pariah state, hence the state government has embarked on some proactive actions to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the state.

Governor Wike spoke on Friday at the Government House Port Harcourt, during an update on the fight against coronavirus also known as COVID-19 I’m the state.

The governor who specially thanked God for protecting Rivers State from the spread of the virus, noted that the index case, the lady who tested positive to the virus has been discharged, adding that the second case has also been tested negative and would be discharged before the end of Friday.

He said:”By the special grace of God, the index case, a lady who was positive after treatment she became negative and have been discharged. The second case which shows positive has tested negative and will be discharged this morning. Thank God for His protection on Rivers State.

“Even if many people have bent to ensure that Rivers State records over 100 cases, we choose a proactive intervention in protecting human life. We did not wait to record index case before sensitizing our people. We were the first state that lockdown the borders against other neighbouring states to contain the spread of coronavirus. That way we can limit or put off opportunity of any index case.”

The Governor who encouraged Rivers people to be patient with the restrictions and orders of the state government in ensuring that the virus does not spread, said: “We will do all we can to to protect and save the lives of our people. These measures may not be pallatable, but just to save our people. Hunger did not start today. Lets stay alive today and see how we can contend hunger”.

He commended health professionals, security agencies, compliance of Rivers people and the media for their support in the fight against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Governor Wike has insisted that the 22 staff of Exxon Mobil must be quarantine and face the law for contravening the order of the state government.

Recalled that the state Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura had led a team that intercepted 22 staff of Exxon-Mobil returning from offshore of Eket in Akwa-Ibom State at the boundary of Rivers state and that of Akwaibom.

The commissioner alongside other service chiefs intercepted the two buses loaded with 22 passengers and ordered that the oil workers be sent to the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Elekahia, Port Harcourt for a 14-day quarantine.

During the briefing at the Government House, Governor Wike, said there is lockdown in the state and Exxon Mobil that does not operate in Rivers violated the order of the state.

He regretted that while the state Government is fighting hard to save the state of spread of coronavirus, some individuals are politicizing the whole exercise thereby trying to put the lives of Rivers people in danger.

“Yesterday, Exxon Mobil brought 22 people to Rivers and never cared to bring them for test. We will fight this battle legally. Exxon Mobil does not operate in Rivers State. That you have et’al does not mean you have base in RIvers.

He said the federal authorities are working dangerously to compromise the health protection system of Rivers State and thereby make vulnerable to coronavirus.

“Some people want the escalation of the virus in Rivers State. People were paid to canvass a negative narrative on Carveton Pilots.

“We are doing what we can within available resources to fight coronavirus. You can fly , but as you fly and land, don’t enter our territory.

“We will fight this matter legally. Exxon Mobil does not operate in Rivers State. That they have a point at the Onne seaport does not mean that they operate in Rivers State.

“People in Abuja are not happy. They want Rivers State to be infected. They want to kill Rivers people and I will not allow it. I was elected to protect Rivers people. Rivers State is not a pariah State”.

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