By Egufe Yafugborhi – Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike on Friday rewarded Rumuigbo community, Obio Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers state with N5 million for providing information which resulted in the arrest of trucks, cattle, and passengers who sneaked into Port Harcourt in breach of the state’s COVID-19 restriction orders.
The Governor in a Friday broadcast on state of his administration’s fight against coronavirus also vented frustration on perceived Federal Government (FG) and security agents sabotage of efforts at containing the pandemic in the state.
He said, “I commend Rumuigbo community vigilante for rising to the challenge, as any responsible community should do, by intercepting a lorry-load of livestock with 50 persons who illegally entered the State in violation of the lockdown orders. For this show of courage and patriotism, the State Government will reward the Rumuigbo with N5,000,000”
On perceived sabotage of Rivers State’s efforts, he said, “It’s imperative to alert the world that a dangerous escalation of COVID-19 pandemic in Rivers looms large in our horizon due largely to hypocrisy of the FG and continuous willful sabotage by security agencies.
“While we cannot overstate the gravity of our present predicament, nobody should be surprised should Rivers witness exponential increases in infection and spread of COVID-19 in days and weeks ahead as we begin intense testing.
“Our borders continue to experience serial sabotage by security operatives who allow, in some cases, personally aid persons with risky COVID-19 status into the State.
“The extent of sabotage has been such that, even a Deputy Commissioner of Police unilaterally appropriated powers to illegally issue movement pass to individuals, companies indiscriminately in utter contempt and violation of the lockdown orders of the State.
“From all indications, no matter what we do or try to do to fight this battle, it is becoming clear by each day that those forces bent on forcing COVID-19 pandemic on our State are not willing to cease their evil plot and intentions.”
On the toll his restriction orders take on the Rivers populace, he appreciated the “overwhelming majority for complying with the Stay at Home and Stay Safe orders, including temporary closure of business outfits and activities throughout the State.
“Quite, unfortunately, some residents have chosen to selves and the public at risk of infection with an irresponsible show of disobedience to our restrictions on human and vehicular movements during the lockdown.
“While we appreciate the intervention and plea of clemency from well-meaning Rivers citizens, it is our position not to condone any sentiments on this matter because of the seriousness of the situation.”
He affirmed that vehicles, whose owners have been convicted for violation of the Covid-19 orders with ownership already forfeited to the State will be duly auctioned by Deputy Sheriff of the State High Court.
“Unfortunately, despite our determined efforts, the State recorded three new cases, bringing our total confirmed COVID-19 infections to 17 as at the 7th of May 2020.”