Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared willingness to drop his immunity to testify against persons, who violated the border closure regulations aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
This was even as two pilots of Carveton Helicopters have been arrested by security agencies for contravening the state government’s ban on local flights into Rivers.
Governor Wike stated this yesterday, at the office of the Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, in Port Harcourt, following the arrest of the two pilots, who illegally transported expatriates to the state.
Wike said the protection of Rivers people was an important assignment that must be executed with the seriousness it deserves.
“I am willing to drop my immunity as a governor as far as this case is concerned. I am ready to be a prosecution witness,” he said.
He charged the police to prosecute the matter to its logical conclusion to serve as deterrent to those interested in violating the regulations of the state regarding the fight against coronavirus.
He said: “I want to say this is a serious matter to us and police should handle it seriously. That’s why I am here at the state command to show the seriousness of this issue.
“Nobody says you can’t go to any state. But, now, we are in a war situation. This COVID-19 is even worse than a conventional war.
“We want to know who are those people you brought in so that we can trace them to know their identity and status. Luckily, we have seen the pilot and the co-pilot. They will assist the police in identifying them.”
Governor Wike reiterated that though the state government has no power to close airports, it has the right to check those coming into the state to ascertain their status.
“I have always said we need the support of everybody. Nobody knows the status of those coming into Port Harcourt. Nobody knows whether they are positive or negative. I have said before that I don’t have right to close the airport. But, I have the right of saying don’t enter my state because we want to know your status.
“The company wrote to us about bringing people which I forwarded to commissioner of police to perform security checks and the health officials to perform their duties before allowing them to come in. That is for those performing essential duties. But, they decided to violate the regulations,” he said.
He confirmed the second case of coronavirus in the state, saying the person is 62 years old, who recently returned from United Kingdom and entered the state through Lagos.
He also confirmed that the index case of the state has been discharged from the treatment/isolation centre in Eleme.
“The positive index case of the virus we had, by the grace of God, has been discharged. What we have now is another case of a 62 years old person who came in from UK and landed in Lagos and then moved to Port Harcourt,” he said.