Demolished hotel fracas: Injured member of Rivers Task Force dies

Gov Wike supervising the demolition of one of the hotels in Port Harcourt

…Governor Wike to build Primary School at former hotel site.

…announces acquisition of properties of Prodest and Etemeteh Hotels.

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

A member of Rivers COVID-19  Task Force  who was allegedly attacked at demolished Prodest hotel by hoodlums thugs led by the wanted Princewill Osareojiji,the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, Youth Leader in Eleme Local government area is dead.

The deceased,whose identity was not revealed was said to have died last night, Tuesday May 12 at the hospital where he and other injured victims were taking treatment, Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications,Paulinus Nsirim, said at a press briefing in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

The Commissioner also claimed that protests over demolition of Prodest Hotel in Alode,Eleme and Etemeteh Hotel in Onne has  been hijacked by opposition elements  after the owners  deliberately flouted Executive Order 6.

According to the Nsirim, “These  two  hotels,  Prodest Hotel, Alode, Eleme and Etemeteh Hotel, Onne not only flouted the Executive Order,  the Hotel Manager of Prodest invited the wanted PDP Eleme Youth Leader, Princewill Osaroejiji, who came with thugs to unleash mayhem on Task Force operatives who were on ground to close down the facility.”

He went further to state that the Rivers State Government has approved the building of a Primary School for Eleme People on the site of the demolished Prodest Hotel ,just as it has also acquired the properties of the two hotels from their owners.

The Spokesman for the Rivers State Government explained that Governor Wike and the Rivers State Security Council took the decision to demolish the hotel in the interest of Rivers State and her people.

He said that days before that demolition, everyone was aware that the State Government sensitized the people on the consequence of flouting Executive Order 6.

“Eleme people are happy with the demolition.  In several publications they made after the demolition, they have declared that Prodest Hotel is a criminal hideout and a den for cultists.

“They added that Prodest Hotel is a centre for gun-running by the wanted PDP Youth Leader.  It was his criminal tendencies that emboldened him to unleash mayhem on State officials when the Hotel Manager invited him”.

He pointed out that over the last few weeks, the Rivers State Governor,  Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has provided national leadership in relation to the fight against coronavirus.  Through his firm and decisive efforts, Governor Wike has been able to protect Rivers people, despite the different plots to compromise the Health protocols of the State.

Information Commissioner recalled that Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu captured the outstanding leadership role of Governor Wike in the fight against coronavirus when he visited the State recently.

In his words: “I want to thank you for your firm, strong, committed and personally led response to COVID-19. We thank you very much for your leadership and we need your leadership to continue in order for us to continue doing our work nationally.”

Nsirim restated that the fight against Coronavirus in the State has been premised on the Rule of Law.  It was Governor Wike who first signed an Executive Order that led to Border Closure and other actions.  This was done on March 19, 2020. After initial criticisms, other States followed suit.

He restated, therefore, that the fight against Coronavirus in Rivers State is in the interest of Rivers people and the entire Country.  This is because Rivers State is vital to the survival of the nation as the headquarters of the hydrocarbon industry, stating that there is no wisdom placing finance ahead of human lives.

According to him, despite the vigorous fight to check the spread of Covid-19 in the state, essential services continue to thrive even in the midst of the fight against coronavirus.

“One question many Social Media Lawyers and their followers have refused to answer is, why is that out of several hotels operating in Rivers State only Prodest and Etemeteh hotels were demolished.

“Even the Chairman of Nigeria Hotels Owners Association Rivers State Chapter, Mr. Eugene Nwaizu, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt expressed surprise that the hotels that were not even registered with the body disobeyed the Executive Order.”

According to him, the Hotels and Guest Houses were well informed about the Executive Order. The Governor is not out to witch-hunt anybody but to ensure that coronavirus does not spread in the State.

Nsirim pointed, however, that the seasoned legal luminaries like, Chief Onueze C.J. Okocha (SAN) and former President the Nigeria Bar Association,NBA, has said that Governor Wike acted within the law under the present circumstances.

He advised that rather than aggrieved persons misleading members of the public; they should approach the Courts for interpretation.

Reacting to the allegation that the state government is not following due process, he said “As we speak, many offenders have been tried and convicted under the Executive Orders.  This is not a lawless situation; Governor Wike is working hard to protect Rivers people within the ambit of the law and assured that the Rivers State Government will remain focused.

He queried: “Why the media not report the mass demolitions by the Lagos State Government between April 22 and April 23, 2020. These demolitions rendered over 500 persons homeless. Not a single Newspaper mentioned these demolitions for reasons yet to be ascertained.

“Where are those displaced in the heat of the lockdown? Where are the women and children? Where are the lawyers, the civil society groups and other APC mercenaries? Are the displaced worthless? This was a fundamental crime against humanity, but it was swept under the carpet because it happened in Lagos.

He cited the demolition of a night club in Abuja where 80 persons lost their livelihood.  What about the demolitions of homes in Abuja and Kaduna during the lockdown? Civil rights Lawyers and others looked the other way.