… Promises palliatives in second phase
Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
Rivers Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance with the State government’s directive on the closure of markets, saying that his administration is committed to checking the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking on Saturday after leading the State Task Force on Enforcement of the ban on Public and Religious gatherings to monitor compliance with the directive of the State Government, Governor Wike urged Rivers people to make sacrifices to ensure that the virus is contained.
He said: “We are satisfied with the level of compliance, even though there are those who thought that the closure of markets will not take effect from the first day.
“We will also go out tomorrow. After tomorrow, we will know if we will apply more stringent measures on Monday.
“What we are doing is to protect the lives of our people. Some people may talk about the inconvenience, but you must be alive to talk about food.
“This is the time everyone must make sacrifices . This disease affects the entire population. Whatever measures we bring out is to curtail the spread of this deadly virus.
“Today, we have gone round and we are happy with what we have seen. We will review tomorrow whether the Churches are complying with what we agreed on.”
Governor Wike said that his administration is taking very tough measures because Port Harcourt is a hub that attracts people from across the globe.
He said: “Port Harcourt is a hub where you have the oil companies and the rest of them. We have two seaports. It is a place where people like to come and do business.
“We think that the measures that we have put in place have checkmated the spread of the virus.
“While we pray to God for his intervention, we will continue to do our best to protect our people. “
The Rivers State Governor stated that the State Government will consider palliatives in the next phase of intervention, noting that the focus for now is to check the spread.
“When you talk of palliatives, you are aware that the Federal Government gave Lagos State N10billion as support. And so many people in Lagos have also made various donations.
“But in this state, we have not received a dine from any person. For the time being, people should make the sacrifice.
“The issue of palliative will be in the second phase,” he said.
Wike, through Executive Order signed on 19th March, 2020, had declared that all markets in the State no matter how small are to remain closed with effect from Saturday, March 28, 2020 to check the spread of coronavirus in the state.
Members of the Task Force who accompanied Governor Wike on the monitoring exercise to ensure compliance with the order include: The Rivers State Police Commissioner, the State Director of Department of State Services, The Commander Nigeria Air Force 115 Special Operations Group, Port Harcourt, the Commander NNS Pathfinder and the State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
There was general compliance with the directive of the State Government as the traders locked the markets and stayed away.
The Governor and other Task Force members monitored compliance at the Popular Umbrella Market by the rail track, the Mile One Market , Mile Two Market, Mile Three Market and Mile Four Market.
Wike led the team to monitor compliance at the Rumuokwuta Market, Rumuomasi Market , Elekahia Market, Slaughter Market and the Creek Road Market.
The Governor also stopped at the different markets to interact with security personnel and operatives of the State Task Force on Street Trading and Illegal Motor Parks and issued relevant instructions.