By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has temporary lifted the 24-hour curfew in the state capital comprising Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor local government areas.
Wike, who said in a statewide broadcast that the curfew would return on Thursday, explain that the temporary relief was to enable people to replenish their foodstuffs and medicine.
He said: “Consequently, we have given due consideration to the propositions on the way forward by well-meaning citizens of the State, and after a cautious review of the situation, decided to implement a partial relaxation of the lockdown measures, to enable residents to have some fresh air and replenish their foodstuffs and medicines
“To this end, I hereby announce the temporary lifting of the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Governments Areas for two days only, with effect from Tuesday 12th May 2020.
“All shops, supermarkets, and malls can open to the public for Tuesday and Wednesday, 12 and 13 May 2020. Similarly, all hospitals and banks can also open and provide full services to the public;
“While oil and gas companies are required to submit the list of their staff on essential duties to Government, note that there is no ban on the lifting of petroleum products from depots and other receptacles. The total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas will be reinstated on Thursday 14th May 2020 and remain until further notice.”
The governor in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, said all other established restrictions under the Executive Orders on social distancing remained in force.
He said there must be compulsory wearing of face masks or scarfs in vehicles and public places; closure of all land, sea and air borders and entry routes into the State; and closure of all open markets, including slaughters, hotels, guest houses, cinemas, bars and restaurants.
He said: “Please note that our enemy is invisible. stay at home, maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly and stay safe.
“As a Government, we are doing our utmost best, in the face of daunting challenges, to prevent COVID-19 from taking hold in Rivers State; to stop any possible community transmission of this disease before it is too late.
“And we shall continue on this trajectory because the alternative would spell a greater disaster for our State and our people. More so, when these are not arbitrary measures but fully prescribed and backed by the ordinary laws of our State, especially, Executive Orders numbers: 1 to 6.
“So far, all our measures and actions are not arbitrary but fully prescribed, guided and backed by the ordinary laws of our State, especially Executive Order numbers 1 to 6, which apply equally to all persons throughout the State. As a Government, we are obliged to enforce our laws, and in the present circumstance, we have done so without fear or favour.
“We equally made it loud and clear that in the fight against COVI/D-19 there would be no sacred cows; no double standards, and no sentiments of any kind, whether political, ethnic, religious, status, emotional or otherwise.
“In the last few days we have pursued with vigour and secured several convictions against those who intentional violated our COVID-19 containment laws in the same way others States are doing. The forfeited trucks to be auctioned by the Deputy Sherriff were not confiscated arbitrarily by the State Government, but by the orders of our Courts.”