From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has berated security agencies for allowing travellers to enter and leave the state at will despite the closure of the state’s borders.
This as the Governor has announced a lockdown of parts of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas in view of the failure of residents of the affected areas to comply with the regulations of the State Government to check the spread of coronavirus.
Condemning the security agencies action in a broadcast on Monday, the Governor said: “These unscrupulous security officers are deliberately putting our State and the lives of our people at risk as our health system can hardly cope, should there be a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“To contain this threat therefore, we will be inaugurating the State’s Taskforce on Border Closure on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 to effectively monitor our boundaries and ensure that no unauthorized person and or vehicle leaves or enters our State under any guise in breach of the lockdown order.”
Governor Wike directed the State Commissioner for Social Welfare to round up and deport all vagrants to their state of origin.
He said: “We have also directed the Commissioner of Social Welfare to round-up and deport all vagrants, including the almajiris, to their States of origin to protect our people from the threat they present to the transmission of this pandemic.
“We have also widened our case finding and containment strategy by moving from targeted testing to active sentinel search for cases with acute symptoms across various public and private facilities and subject them to immediate testing, isolation and treatment.
“With these measures, and ceaseless supplications to God, we are confident to win the battle against COVID-19 in our State.”
Governor Wike commended Rivers healthcare workers for their efforts and personal sacrifices and prayed God to bless them richly.
He said: “While we will step-up our efforts to deliver more palliatives to the vulnerable ones among us, we urge all residents to simply comply with the established directives and protocols on the lockdown and social distancing and save our State from the COVID-19 scourge.”
Governor Wike who further urged Rivers people to remain steadfast, noted that the state has recorded so 6 cases of coronavirus.
He said: “As at yesterday, 26th April 2020, Rivers State had 6 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2 fully recovered and discharged, 2 confirmed deaths, while 2 are active and presently receiving treatment in our isolation and treatment centre at Nchia General Hospital, Eleme.
“The recent positive cases, in spite of the strategic measures we have put in place, are clear evidence of gradual increase in transmission of the virus, which has happened as a result of the actions of those who either chose to breach or sabotage our directives on lockdown and social distancing.
“We consider the emerging trend as not only serious and risky, but also, one that compels us to step-up our strategies and prevent a spike in the transmission of the coronavirus in our State.
“For this reason, we should all be prepared to go through more stringent measures, including a possible total statewide lockdown, if the situation so compels, in the days and weeks ahead.
“However, we may not get to this drastic point if we exercise more patience and strictly obey and observe all established measures, including the rules, behavioural protocols and restrictions on lockdowns and social distancing.
“It is therefore irresponsible for any person, group of persons, corporate entity or institution to endanger the lives of other people by floutingthe existing closure of our borders and the ban on business activities and large social gathering,” he added.
Meanwhile, beginning from Tuesday 28 April 2020, till further notice, parts of Port Harcourt and Obio/AkporLocal Government Areas will be on 24 hours complete lockdown.
The areas are Elekahia, including the entire stretch of Rumukalagbor-Elekahia link road, Rumuomasi, Stadium road and Rumuobiokani.
The governor has also warned that “All residents in these areas must stay at home. All shops, mini-markets, officesand business outfits in these areas must also cease to operate until further notice.
“Landlords in these areas must take personal responsibility to enforce this lockdown as we will not hesitate to pull down any commercial building or structure that opens to business in violation of this specific directives”.