In a bid to curtail the spread of Coronavirus, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has announced the partial lockdown of the State.
Wike also banned the operations of night clubs, cinemas and public parks in the state until further notice.
The governor in a statement on Monday said significant public places would remain closed till further notice beginning from March 24.
He insisted that his government was committed to protecting the residents and directed religious groups to temporarily stop all forms of open worship and ordered the suspension of public burials and weddings.
“With effect from the same date (Tuesday, March 24, 2020), all public parks, night clubs and cinemas in the State are to remain closed till further notice.
“Similarly, after due consultations with religious leaders, it was agreed that all religious organisations are to temporarily stop all forms of open worship. Public burial and wedding ceremonies are also banned within this period.
“In view of the fact that the disease spreads fast through body contact, social distance has become imperative if we are to contain the spread.
“May I, therefore call on all religious leaders, traditional rulers and opinion leaders in the State to assist the government to implement these decisions by ensuring that persons under their care do not fall foul of this directive.”
Wike also directed local government council chairmen to ensure that public burials and weddings do not take place in their respective areas.
“May I emphasise that Local Government Chairmen are to be held responsible if public burials and weddings take place in their Local Government Areas.
“Government will set up monitoring teams for the 23 Local Government Areas to ensure compliance. Defaulters will be seen as enemies of the State and will be made to face appropriate sanctions.
“My Dear Good People of Rivers State, the essence of governance is to protect lives and we cannot be indifferent when this COVID-19 continues to claim lives world-wide.
“We urge everyone to remain calm and maintain social distance. We shall continue to review the situation and adjust accordingly.
“Like I said in my Broadcast last Friday, these decisions may seem painful for all of us but there is no price that is too much to pay for us to stay alive”.
He said from tomorrow, surveillance posts would be set up all over the state.
“The Rivers State Government having reviewed current developments across the country is desirous to further strengthen prevention measures across the State to keep our citizens safe.
“To this end, with effect from tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 , Surveillance Posts are to be set up at the following Borders of the State:
(1) Emohua for motorists coming from Bayelsa and States
(2) Omerelu for motorists coming from Owerri
(3) Okehi for motorists coming from Imo State through Etche
(4) Akwuzie in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area for motorists coming from Imo State
(5)Oyigbo Toll Gate for motorists coming from Aba and
(6)Opoku in Khana Local Government Area for motorists coming from Akwa Ibom State.
“Marine entry points: Port Harcourt and Onne Ports , Nembe, Bille,Bonny and NLNG Jetties are also going to be under surveillance. Each of the Surveillance Posts shall be manned by trained health and security personnel who will ensure that motorists and seafarers are tested before they are allowed to enter the State.
“All motorists and seafarers are please enjoined to cooperate with the Surveillance teams as they have been empowered to legitimately enforce this directive,” Governor Wike said.
The Governor added: “I use this medium to call on citizens to minimise family visits . Rather , everyone should maintain contacts through the use of telephones. “