Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has accused President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government of politicising the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
He said it was unfortunate that while the Federal Government gave Lagos State a grant of N10 billion to assist the state in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease, nothing was given to Rivers State as the nation’s oil and gas hub.
The governor stated this in a broadcast on Sunday, adding that despite the exclusion of the state, that the Buhari-led government had continued to endanger the state by flying expatriates into the state.
“It is quite unfortunate that the containment of coronavirus has been politicised by the federal government. While Lagos State received a grant of N10 billion 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 the 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 before it gets support. No state should be seen as more important than any other state. This is a Federal Republic. No state is superior to others.
“Rivers State is entitled to support from the federal government. Every day, we are inundated with letters from the federal government to allow oil companies to fly in expatriates to drill Oil. Then 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,” he said.
The governor also during the broadcast announced that all markets in the state would operate between 7am and 12 noon on April 7 and April 8, 2020 to allow residents to shop for Easter and also replenish their stock of foodstuffs.
He declared that Oil Mill Market, Mbiama Market and Slaughter Market would remain closed until further notice.
“All markets in the state except Oil Mill Market, Mbiama Market and Slaughter Market at Trans-Amadi shall be open on Tuesday, April 7 and Wednesday, April 8, 2020, from 7am to 12noon. After those two days, the markets will remain closed. This is to enable residents to shop for Easter and also replenish their stock of foodstuffs.
“Oil Mill Market, Mbiama Market and Slaughter Market at Trans Amadi shall remain closed till further notice,” he said.
Wike also said he has set up of a committee to work out modalities for carrying out the state government’s palliative programme.
He said, “In line with our decision to provide palliatives to cushion the hardship being faced by our people, the government has decided to set up a committee to work out modalities for the smooth implementation of this directive. This committee reflects all interest groups.
“The members are: 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).
“This committee will be inaugurated tomorrow, Monday, April 6, 2020 at the Government House, Port Harcourt by 12noon. Attendance of the inauguration ceremony will be strictly for members of the committee.”