• As Wike decries slow work pace on Unity Road
TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the reopening of schools in the State with effect from Monday, October 5, 2020.
SEC took the decision at an emergency session presided over by Governor Nyesom Wike, at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, announced this while briefing journalists at the end of the meeting.
Professor Ebeku disclosed that all secondary schools, vocational schools, universities and other tertiary institutions were affected by the directive.
He, however, stated that SEC did not approve the reopening of primary schools based on expert medical advice.
Professor Ebeku added that Council also approved the setting up of a seven-man task force to monitor and enforce the compliance of COVID-19 protocols in the various schools.
He said the task force, has the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt, Desmond Akawor, as Chairman, while Mr. Rufus Godwins, Head of the State Civil Service, Commissioner for Health, Professor Princewill Chike, Commissioner for Social Welfare, Mrs. Inime Aguma, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Nwankpa and Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, are to serve as members.
The Commissioner for Education, Professor Ebeku, is to serve as Secretary.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Nsirim, also announced the reopening of public places such as parks, cinemas and restaurants that would operate within the hours of 6am to 9pm daily.
Pastor Nsirim stated that night clubs and bars, as well as Oil Mill Market and Slaughter Market, Oginigba, remain closed.
He said that the reopened public places must adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols or face severe sanctions.
Also, the Commissioner for Social Welfare, Mrs. Inime Aguma, said Government reviewed the compliance of citizens as it relates to Executive Order 16 on the conduct of marriages in the State.
Mrs. Aguma stated that henceforth, applications for marriages must be accompanied with an affidavit stating that there would be no reception.
According to her, a fine of N100 million awaits defaulters of the Extant Regulations.
She added that local government chairmen would be held responsible if they fail to monitor compliance in their various areas.
The Commissioner for Health, Professor Princewill Chike said that Council also reviewed issues regarding public burials during the COVID-19 period.
According to him, all public burials in the State would be conducted in line with the Official Gazette of the State which stipulates that not more 50 persons are allowed at such ceremonies.
Professor Chike stated that henceforth, families applying for burials must provide death certificates and an affidavit that they must adhere strictly with all COVID-19 protocols.
He said defaulters would be liable to a fine of N100 million, while Local Government Chairmen are to ensure that the directives are complied with in their various areas.
Meanwhile, Governor, Wike has expressed displeasure over the slow pace of work by the contractor handling the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road.
Governor Wike made his feelings known during an inspection tour of the road yesterday, in company of some members of SEC.
He said over 80 percent of the contract sum for the project had been paid to the contractor.
“We have paid over 80 percent of the contract sum and we expect that at least the Opobo axis of the road ought to have been completed.
“I am not also happy with the level of work at the Andoni axis of the road which links Ngo and Ikuru towns.
“On our part, we are committed to complete the long abandoned project to enable the people of Opobo and Andoni travel to their homes by road.
“Let me appeal to the contractor to expedite work on the road. I can assure you that funding will not be a hindrance to the completion of the project”, he stated.
Responding, the Managing Director of Raffoul Nigeria Limited, Mr. Elias Raffoul, assured the governor that the Opobo axis of the Road would be completed by December this year.
He also stated that the Andoni axis of the road would be delivered by March, 2021.