Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has announced the temporary lifting of the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt local government areas for two days, with effect from today.
Governor Wike made the announcement on Sunday night, in a state-wide broadcast, saying the temporary lockdown would last till tomorrow.
He said: “We have given due consideration to the propositions on the way forward by well-meaning citizens of the state, and after a cautious review of the situation, decided to implement a partial relaxation of the lockdown measures to enable residents have some fresh air and replenish their foodstuffs and medicines.
“To this end, I hereby announce the temporary lifting of the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt councils for two days, with effect from today.
“All shops, supermarkets, and malls can open to the public for today and tomorrow.
“Similarly, all hospitals and banks can also open and provide full services to the public.
“While oil and gas companies are required to submit the list of their staff on essential duties to government, note that there is no ban on the lifting of petroleum products from depots and other receptacles.
“The total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt councils will be reinstated on Thursday, May 14, 2020, and remain until further notice.”
Governor Wike said all other established restrictions under the Executive Orders on social distancing were still in force. He urged the people to stay-at-home, maintain social distancing, wash their hands regularly and stay safe.
The governor said every measure the government has imposed was dictated by an assessment of the state’s situation, the trend of transmission and the conviction that it was the right thing to do in the circumstance.
“As a government, we are doing our utmost best, in the face of daunting challenges, to prevent COVID-19 from taking hold in Rivers State; to stop any possible community transmission of this disease before it is too late.
“And we shall continue on this trajectory because the alternative would spell a greater disaster for our state and our people.
“So far, all our measures and actions are not arbitrary but fully prescribed, guided and backed by the ordinary laws of our state, especially Executive Order numbers 1 to 6, which apply equally to all persons in the state.
“As a government, we are obliged to enforce our laws, and in the present circumstance, we have done so without fear or favour.
“In the last few days, we have pursued with vigour and secured several convictions against those who intentionally violated our COVID-19 containment laws in the same way others states are doing.
“The forfeited trucks to be auctioned by the deputy sheriff were not confiscated arbitrarily by the state government, but by the orders of our court,” he said.
Governor Wike said the demolition of the two hotels in Eleme was done in line with extant laws.
He said: “We acted against the hoteliers because, apart from using the facility to jeopardise the lives of our citizens in violation of the extant law, the owners audaciously unleashed thugs, led by the Eleme Local Government Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party and inflicted severe injuries on our task-force members, who went to enforce the law against the continued operation of the hotels.
“As we speak, nobody knows the fate of the lives of most of the victims of that brazen and deadly attack given the severity of the head injuries they sustained.
“And so, we have done no wrong as all our actions were taken in good faith and justified by Executive Orders, which have neither been challenged nor set aside by any competent court of law,” he said.
The governor said he remained focused on protecting Rivers people.