…As case increases to 17
From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Despite effort of the Rivers State Government to check spread of coronavirus in the state, the State has again recorded three new cases, bringing to total confirmed COVID-19 infections to 17 as at Thursday May 7, 2020.
This as the State Governor, Nyesom Wike has accused the federal government of sabotaging the effort of the state government through the alleged wilful sabotage of the security agencies.
Governor Wike who spoke in a state broadcast on Friday, said that the predicament of the state cannot be over-emphasised.
He said: “This being so, it has become imperative to alert the State and in deed, the entire world, of the fact that a dangerous escalation of COVID-19 pandemic in Rivers State looms large in our horizon due largely to the hypocrisy of the Federal Government and the continuous acts of willful sabotage by security agencies.
“Therefore, while we cannot overstate the gravity of our present predicament, nobody should be surprised should Rivers State witness exponential increases in the infection and spread of COVID-19 cases in the days and weeks ahead as we begin intense testing.
“Nevertheless, our resolve and commitment remain strong and total; and as we continue to urge everyone of us to treat this as a matter of life or death, our message to you remains constant: obey our directives to stay at home and protect yourself, your family and our State from the spread of COVID-19. There is certainly no choice on this. Staying at home and staying safe for now is not just mandatory; it is the best available option in the circumstance.”
Governor Wike added: “Our borders continue to experience serial acts of sabotage by security operatives, who allow, and in some cases, personally aid persons with risky COVID-19 status into the State.
“As recently as yesterday, we intercepted a lorry-load of livestock with 22 persons who bribed their ways into Rivers State from as far as Adamawa State despite the Federal Government’s claimed restriction on inter-state travels and our definitive closure of all entry routes into the State.
“Even today, we intercepted, yet, another 8 trucks with 200 persons hidden in loads of grains and being smuggled into the State from the northern parts of the country.
“Indeed, the extent of sabotage was such that, even a Deputy Commissioner of Police unilaterally appropriated and exercised powers to illegally issue movement pass to individuals and companies indiscriminately in utter contempt and direct violation of the lockdown orders of the State Government.”
The Governor rewarded Rumuigbo Community with N5m following the role their vigilance group played in intercepting a truck that had people hidden in it.
He appreciated the overwhelming majority of Rivers people for complying with the “Stay at Home and Stay Safe” orders, including the temporary closure of business outfits and activities throughout the State.
He said: “As a Government, a strong one for that matter, we have the responsibility to act decisively on the side of the law to safeguard the safety of our State and its residents.
“And so, as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to graduate and make its way through the State, these actions, inactions and counter-actions from the the security agencies are rather amplifying the risk of a public health disaster in our State.
“From all indications, no matter what we do or try to do to fight this battle, it is becoming clear by each day that those forces bent on forcing COVID-19 pandemic on our State are not willing to cease their evil plot and intentions.”
The Governor said the state Government will not shirk in its duty to the people. He said the Government will unleash the full and severe weight of the law against any person or body of persons, who attempt to put themselves and other innocent people at the risk of spreading this disease in Rivers State.
The Governor confirmed the three new cases in the state and gave a breakdown.
“Unfortunately, despite our determined efforts, the State recorded three new cases, bringing our total confirmed COVID-19 infections to 17 as at the 7th of May 2020.Unfortunately, despite our determined efforts, the State recorded three new cases, bringing our total confirmed COVID-19 infections to 17 as at the 7th of May 2020.
“While two of the new cases were contacts of an existing case, the third case is from the Diobu area of Port Harcourt, who has no travel history or conceivable contact with any other contaminated person.
“This situation points to two critical scenarios, which we must pay attention to. First, the threat of COVID-19 among us, is real, and second, the threat is growing as the number in infections and localities continues to rise and expand”.
He reiterated the state’s concerns over the outrageous actions of Rivers enemies who continue to destabilize the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the State.
He said: “Our borders continue to experience serial acts of sabotage by security operatives, who allow, and in some cases, personally aid persons with risky COVID-19 status into the State”.