Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has regretted that the Federal Government has started playing double standards with the issue of relocation of almajiri.
Governor Wike also charged government recognised traditional rulers to set up task force in their respective communities to enforce the closure of markets, hotels and beer parlours across the state.
Addressing the traditional rulers at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike said the shutdown was necessary to slowdown the spread of coronavirus
The governor noted that the Federal Government did not condemn deportation of almajiri by some states, but declared it as against inter-state movement when Rivers relocated them.
He said: “When they started relocating the almajiri in the North, the Federal Government said nothing. Immediately they heard that we have relocated some almajiri, they came up with the declaration that it is against the inter-state movement. Why this double standard?”
Governor Wike noted that his administration has continued to work on the state’s borders to ensure they remain closed.
He charged local government chairmen to take more stringent measures to stop the influx of persons.
The governor appealed to the traditional rulers to work with his administration to check the transmission of coronavirus.
He said: “Set up your own task force in your respective domains and implement the closure of markets, hotels and beer parlours.
“This task force is strictly for COVID-19. The state government will support all traditional rulers to carry out these responsibilities.”
The governor also called on council chairmen to ensure they support the traditional rulers to deliver on the directive.
He warned that from tomorrow any shop that opens in Obio/Akpor or Port Harcourt local government area, the building would be demolished.
On the closure of markets, Governor Wike said the state Food Purchasing Committee, headed by Secretary to the Government, would purchase the foodstuff and distribute to the people.
Commenting on the compulsory use of face masks, Governor Wike said he would use politicians and traditional rulers as examples.
“I want to use politicians and traditional rulers as examples, if they fail to wear face masks in their cars. If you are not wearing face masks in your cars, you will be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Governor Wike advised Rivers people not to wait for the support of the Federal Government, but concentrate on the strategies to reduce the spread of the virus.
He said anywhere a market continues to operate in the state, the traditional ruler will lose his recognition.
“Go home and tell your people, anywhere I see a market operating, the traditional ruler will lose his recognition.
“We must check people entering our state and don’t wait for the support of the Federal Government. Lets work to reduce the number.
“As the hotels remain closed, those coming in will have nowhere to stay. When we are safe, we can enjoy what we have. I am not doing this because I hate anyone, but it is for the protection of our people.
“No human being will see death and embrace it. We cannot kill ourselves. The only solution is ensure social distancing and proper hygiene.”
Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, Douglas Dandeson Jaja, thanked the governor for involving the traditional rulers in the fight against coronavirus.
He assured the governor that the traditional rulers would live up to his expectations by carrying out the state government’s directive.
Jaja thanked Governor Wike for his palliative to the 23 local government areas of the state.