No date yet for end of Obio-Akpo, Port Harcourt lockdown – Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday gave his administration kudos in the fight against coronavirus.

The governor also said that there is no date yet set for the end of the 24-hour lockdown of Obio-Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas.

He said the early shutting of borders by his administration was fundamental to the low number of cases recorded in the state.

Speaking in a phone-in program on Rhythm FM, he said he shut down of markets because he took an oath to save life and property, stressing that since the pandemic has no cure, and due to the lack of social distancing in the markets, it became necessary to shut them.

He said that his administration has put in place palliatives to cushion the effect.

He added that his administration is prepared to fight the virus, adding that what he is trying to do is to reduce the rate of infection in the state.

On the lockdown of Obio-Akpor and Port Harcourt, he said he is taking proactive measures, adding that even other countries like Germany that initially lifted its lockdown is going back into locking down.

He said that the shut down was based on the fact that people are not complying with the measures set in place.

Wike stressed that he understands that the impacts of the total lockdown were painful but he can’t fold his hands and watch people die like it is happening in Kano.

He urged residents to make sacrifices, adding that the measures are affecting governments because the government is not also getting taxes as businesses are shut down.

He said his first priority is to protect lives. He cited India with over 1.5 billion population still under lockdown, saying that prevention is better than cure.

Wike said some people still do not believe the virus is real. He said that due to the influx of people into the state especially from the North, and with lack of testing, lockdown became imperative.

He said he has over 100 approvals from companies, adding people who they do not know their status are coming into the state.

On collaboration with Federal Government, he said he has done everything to collaborate with FG but cannot force Abuja to work with him.

He said despite the fact that the minister of state for petroleum, Timipre Sylva fought the current governor of Bayelsa, Duoye Diri, during the last election, he attracted a regional infection center to the state.

Wike said that some opposition politicians are denying the people what they should get because they do not like the governor of the state.

He said Rivers as an oil hub, they want people to die because Wike is the governor.

He said that FG has refused to set up a testing center because he is governor.

The governor said he is always thinking of how his people would survive, stressing that he would not go to Abuja and kneel down and beg for help, adding that if people die, no one will drill oil, as the issue of life should not be politicized.

On people on essential duties during the lockdown, he said that people on essential duties must be known, adding that those coming from outside would be tested. He said people are smuggled in containers to the state, posing more challenges to his administration.

He said he arrested a security man who collected money from a man to carry him and sent them to isolation center, adding that people are taking advantage of the privileges to misbehave. He said that those on essential duties must be on duties and not just roaming about.

On setting up test centers, he said no state has gotten any testing machines on their own as it is not available, adding that even Shell had to get approval from FG to bring in the one they donated to the state. He said no state government has installed any test center singlehandedly.

He said Shell brought PCR machines to Rivers State and wanted to take it to UPTH but he said NO, it would be at RSUTH. He said UPTH did not set up a testing center as the CMD alleged, adding that UPTH did not invite him to commission their test center.

He further lambasted the CMD for claiming that people are being arrested for not supporting the government.

On criminals attacking people, he said that criminals would not move in a time of lockdown, adding that the lockdown would be on as long as the security council feels it is safe to reopen