Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bar owners and commercial tricycle operators popularly called Keke NAPEP have defied Bayelsa State Government precautionary directives to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
The state government had directed operators of Keke NAPEP not to carry more than two passengers at the back while bar owners were asked to shut down.
Investigations, however, revealed the Keke NAPEP operators were carrying more than the prescribed two passengers while bar owners opened without the state task force calling them into questioning.
All the customers of the bar that opened ignored the social distancing measures and were freely mixing in defiance of the state government orders.
The Police were later deployed to the major roads in Yenagoa to conduct stop and search to ensure the Keke NAPEP comply with the directives of the state government.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Sunday, expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance with his administration’s directive to lock down the state in a bid to check the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Senator Diri stated this during a tour of the state capital and the various land border points with Rivers and Delta at Igbogene toll gate and Adagbabiri respectively to assess the level of compliance with the restrictions.
The governor, who chairs the multi-sectoral task force for coordinating and implementing the state’s response to the COVID-19 disease, expressed the conviction that the combined efforts of the state government and that of the neighbouring Rivers and Delta states would yield positive results.
His words: “I believe that there is substantial compliance and our neighbouring states have also already locked down. So we believe that the proactive measures from our state and our neighbouring states of Rivers and Delta will be fruitful.”
On sanctions for those flouting government’s directives, Senator Diri rather stressed the need for proper orientation and appealed to the people to cooperate with health officials and security agencies working round the clock to protect lives and their overall wellbeing.
“For us, it is more of an appeal, orientation and understanding. Sanctions are not the first thing because we need to get the buy-in of our people to know that what we are doing is for their own safety, good health and wellbeing.
“The state government is taking proactive measures in an effort to prevent the deadly virus from getting into the state, and there is a need to get the people to key into what we are doing because it is for their own good.”