Oil Drilling expatriates endangering Rivers State
By Kenneth Jukpor
The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike has lampooned the federal government for excluding his State in the support via medical aids and relief materials.
Noting that Rivers State was yet to receive any assistance from the federal government, Governor Wike described the action as politicizing the fight against the spread of coronavirus in the country.
While speaking during a broadcast yesterday, the Governor also criticized the federal government for continued exposure of the State to danger as oil expatriates continue to be flown into the State.
He said: “While Lagos State received a grant of N10billion as a commercial hub, Rivers State as the nation’s oil and gas hub that produces a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth has not received any support from the Federal Government; one wonders why Federal Government should single out a state out of 36 States to give support.
“Does it mean that support will come when a State has a record of over 50 infected persons? No state should be seen as more important than another. This is a Federal Republic. No state is superior to others”
According to him, Rivers State is overwhelmed with letters daily from the federal government to allow oil companies to fly in expatriates to drill oil.
“We ask, what is the status of those coming from Lagos? Nobody has told us their status as regards coronavirus. If they come to come Rivers without us knowing their status, what will be implication assuming they have the virus.”
Governor Wike also announced that all markets in the state would operate between 7am and 12noon on April 7 and April 8, 2020 to allow residents shop for Easter and also replenish their stock of foodstuffs, however, he declared that Oil Mill Market, Mbiama Market and Slaughter Market will remain closed till further notice.
The Governor announced the dissolution of the board of RTC for the notorious operation of illegal franchise scheme, adding that; “All those operating a franchise scheme in the name of the company are advised to desist forthwith. Anyone who violates this directive, will be arrested and prosecuted. Government took this measure because the franchise scheme of RTC has become notorious for illegal activities that compromise the interest of the state”
Governor Wike also directed security agencies to fish out and prosecute persons who slaughter animals in the bush for public consumption.
“We are constrained to note again that despite our directive, commercial vehicle operators have refused to maintain social distancing. Their action portends grave danger because they place the entire society at risk of the virus. ”
The Governor noted that the government had set up of a committee to work out modalities for implementation of the State Government’s Palliative Programme, stating that the committee would be inaugurated today, Monday April 6th.
The committee members to include: Ambassador Desmond Akawor (Chairman), Mrs Inime Aguma , Dr Bariere Thomas, Chief David Briggs, Mrs Florence Amiesimaka, Mrs Stella Ichenwo, Mrs Anthonia Kpakol, Hon. Edison Ehie, Mr Samuel Nwanosike, Hon Hope Ikiriko, Mr Latteh Loolo, ACP Innocent Umerie (Representative of Nigeria Police Force), Hassan Yahaya (DSS), Lt Col Bello (Nigerian Army), AC Mathew Pama (Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps), Wing Commander Comfort Visah (Nigerian Air Force) , Lt Commander CJ Udeh (Nigerian Navy) Venerable Richard Opara, Alhaji Abdulrazaq Diepriye, Monsignor Pius Kii, Archbishop Felix Ezebunwo, Mrs Vivian Braide , Prince Ohia and Paulinus Nsirim (Secretary).
Giving an update on the index case, Wike said; “We are grateful to God that the index case of the virus is now negative. As soon as we receive the confirmation result, she will be discharged from the treatment centre. We also thank our frontline health professionals who have displayed a deep sense of professionalism and patriotism during this trying period.
“The State Government is also grateful to all Rivers people and private individuals who have contributed to support us in this fight. At the appropriate time, Government will publish the names of these individuals.
Governor Wike emphasised that all borders of the State will remain closed, even as he urged religious leaders to continue to intercede on behalf of the state in the fight to contain COVID-19.
This information was disclosed in a press release signed by the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu.