Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has announced that the government would establish a border control task force to ensure that the people of Rivers are protected from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Governor Wike stated this yesterday, when he signed the Executive Order RVSG-02 No. 3 -2020, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor said the task force would be in place because of the likelihood of sabotage from federal security agencies.
“This is the third Executive Order that I will be signing since the coronavirus pandemic started. This third Executive Order is very important.
“We suspect there will be sabotage on the part of the security agencies. That is why we are appointing a Task Force to man our borders. We owe our people a duty to protect them. There is likely to be sabotage. Our Task Force will be at the borders to protect our people,” Wike stressed.
The governor said that contrary to the reports being circulated on the reason for the release of ExxonMobil staff who had been arrested for breaking lockdown restrictions, it was strictly on the intervention of respected Nigerians and not due to the threat to embark on a strike.
“No federal agency spoke to us. But, there were respected Nigerians who intervened and they were released by 8am on Sunday.
“ExxonMobil signed and agreed that they will take back their staff to Eket. That was the condition we gave for their release,” he said.
The governor announced that the laws on the restriction of movement must be implemented for the safety of everyone.
“On Sunday, we arrested some staff of BOA who violated the law. They have been arraigned in court and remanded,” he added.
He reiterated that the coronavirus is no respecter of persons, pointing out that it has killed both influential and less-privileged people, underlying the necessity for more vigilance.
Speaking on the Dumping of Waste in Public Places (Prohibition) Bill 2020, Governor Wike announced that the government will employ 3,000 environmental sanitation marshals to implement the law.
He said that his administration was committed to the improvement of the sanitation of the state.
Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly Martins Amaehwule said Dumping of Waste in Public Places (Prohibition) Bill 2020 is aimed at stopping the dumping of waste on road medians by residents.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Attorney-General Zaccheus Adangor said the two legal instruments signed by the governor will help in the fight against coronavirus.
He said the Quarantine (Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Other Infectious Disease Regulations (No. 2-2020) stipulated non-custodial sentences for offenders.
He said that individuals will be fined N50,000 while corporate organisations will be fined N1 million.
He explained that the regulations direct the Chief Judge of Rivers State to assign a judge or magistrate to try offenders.
Adangor said the Executive Order RVSG-02 No. 3 -2020 empowers the Rivers State Government to set up a task force to implement legislations related to the fight against coronavirus.
Speaker of the State House of Assembly Ikuinyi Ibani thanked the governor for his commitment to the defence of the state.