Tony John, Port Harcourt
Over 200 persons have been arrested and over 20 vehicles impounded by different teams at the Elekahia Isolation Centre following the 24 hours total lockdown declared by the Rivers State government, which took effect yesterday.
Also, Governor Nyesom Wike commended Rivers State people for complying with the lockdown declared by government to check the spread of coronavirus. Wike, who spoke after monitoring the level of compliance yesterday, said that the level of compliance was up to 95 percent.
He said: “I want to commend Rivers people for the level of support they have shown. The level of compliance is quite satisfactory. It is more than 95 percent within the two local government areas”.
The governor regretted that the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) allegedly moved to sabotage the lockdown by issuing illegal letters to companies.
Wike stated: “It is unfortunate to see the level of sabotage that we get from the police, particularly the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Rivers State Police Command. The Deputy Commissioner of Police will sign approvals for companies because he wants to collect money. I am the governor of this state and there cannot be two governors.”
He said the approvals issued by the police or any other authorities outside the office of the Rivers State Governor were illegal.
He said: “The Deputy Commissioner of Police has no powers to issue approvals when the state government has locked down the state. After the State Security Council met and agreed on the lockdown, the Deputy Commissioner of Police went ahead to issue illegal letters to companies to operate. I have never seen that in my life.”
The governor said that those arrested for violating the lockdown directive would be prosecuted by the state government.
According to Wike,”all these violators must be prosecuted at the mobile court set for this purpose. What we are doing is not for any particular individual, it is for the interest of the state.”
Wike assured Rivers people that the lockdown would be lifted as soon as the objective is achieved.
He said: “Our people are suffering, I agree. But this is something we must do. When we examine the level of compliance and it is reasonable. Of course, we will unlock the two local government areas. It is not in our own interest that people shouldn’t come out or go to the markets. But we are talking about lives and how to protect our people.”