Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike is threatening to resume COVID-19 lockdown over the rising cases in the state.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on Monday, he warned that the state was “headed for a serious health disaster of profound consequences if residents and visitors continue to behave as if the pandemic no longer exists or impotent in Rivers State.”
Wike said: “let me also draw your attention to the alarming rate of transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic in our state.
“It remains our desire to keep the state open and allow citizens to go about their social, religious and economic activities unimpeded.
“But we may be constrained to re-impose the suspended COVID-19 lockdown measures across the state if the transmission of the disease continues to increase beyond tolerable limits.
“The daily figures released from the NCDC show that both the transmission and death rates in the last two weeks have consistently been on a rising spiral because residents and visitors to the state have largely abandoned their responsibility to comply with the existing COVID-19 Protocols.
“We cannot afford to continue to close our eyes to the dangers such irresponsible behaviour poses to the health, lives and livelihood of everyone.
“Accordingly, I wish to remind residents of the subsisting protocols on regular washing of hands and use of alcohol-based sanitizer; maintaining social distancing; wearing of face masks at all public places, including transport vehicles; and going for immediate testing and treatment whenever you notice any of the symptoms.”
The Rivers governor also urged residents to take Covid-19 vaccines insisting that “it has been proven that vaccinations are saving lives here and across the world.”
“I, therefore, appeal to all residents to help protect yourself, your loved ones and the rest of the citizens by getting your jab at the designated health centres in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state as they become available.
“I also appeal to religious leaders and churches to convince and encourage their followers and members to please go out and take the vaccines and comply with the covid-19 protocols in addition.”
He warned that “those refusing to take the vaccines for no certified medical reasons should know that they are endangering the rest of the citizens.”
The governor also clarified on the recent demolition of shanties and a market in the state.
“Last week, the Oginigba Slaughter market in Port Harcourt was demolished -a move heavily criticized by the Arewa community in the state,” Governor Wike explained.
“We wish to reiterate that the ongoing demolition of shanties was borne out of the compelling need to safeguard lives and property across the state.
“Our objective, which is gradually achieved, is to deny the criminals these sanctuaries and hideouts from which they embark on their criminal activities and safely return to.
“We, therefore, refuse to be blackmailed by those unpatriotic elements who are trying to stir false ethnic, religious or tribal sentiments around our patriotic commitment to advance the safety and security of residents.”
“Furthermore, we refuse to be intimidated by such baseless pranks. Rather, we will not rest until we clear the State of all shanties wherever they are located and restore sanity to our environment and achieve a better sense of comfort and security for everyone.”