A STATE-WIDE BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY, NYESOM EZENWO WIKE, GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE ON SATURDAY APRIL 18, 2020.
My Dear Good People of Rivers State,
Following the treatment and discharge of the second index case in our treatment centre, I am very delighted to announce that there is presently no single case of the presence of coronavirus in our State.
This is real good news we must all celebrate and thank the Almighty God for answering our prayers and shielding our State from this dreadful epidemic, which has caused so much death and untold human misery across the world.
We are happy with the proactive measures we have adopted, which are the reasons for the swift and measurable success we have achieved in the fight to stop the spread of this disease in our State.
Much as we remain excited by our current status as a coronavirus-free State, this does not mean that we are safe and free from being affected any further.
The reality is that the virus is well around us, and probably, could even be within us among asymptomatic carriers.
This being so, we must all concede to the fact that our ambitious battle against the spread of the coronavirus within our State is clearly not yet over.
We must therefore not be tempted or pressured to lower our safeguards until the threat is eradicated and we are totally and completely safe and free from this pandemic.
Let me assure you that we are more than prepared, willing and able to go the entire length of the struggle to consolidate on the gains already made and ensure that we continue to keep Rivers State secure and free of this pandemic.
But as citizens, you must also not relent in your own responsibility to keep the virus away from our State.
As Government is doing its part, citizens must also do their part by faithfully complying with directives on social distancing and the logical cautions on regular hand washing, use of hand sanitizers and wearing of face masks, as the case may be.
While we commend our people for generally adhering to our restrictions on social distancing, we deplore the lack of compliance with the order on shutting business activities by some residents in parts of the Port Harcourt.
These people are endangering the lives of everybody in the State. Consequently, we are constrained to place the following areas of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area under a total and complete lockdown until further notice:
• Creek road, including Prison junction, Nembe waterside, Cultural Centre, Yam Zone and Ahoada Street.
• Diobu area, including education bus stop, Kalabari by Odi Street, Afikpo Street, Gambia Street, the entire Ikoku Spare part zone, Rivers State University roundabout, and Abali Park under the flyover (both descending and ascending).
All residents and visitors to these neighbourhoods must stay at home. All business premises, shops and commercial interactions must also cease in these places with immediate effect.
We know how painful these measures are to the residents in particular, but at this critical moment, it is the right thing to do as a precaution to avoid potential exposure to and spreading of the virus from these areas.
We have also noticed that stores and remote spaces are being converted to mini-markets in Obio/Akpor Local government Area by unscrupulous persons in defiance of the ban on market activities in the State.
This should stop immediately, otherwise, we shall be compelled to lockdown the entire Local Government Area and deal with those flouting our directives and undermining our efforts.
We have further observed that commercial bus and taxi operators in the State are crowding their vehicles with passengers in disregard of the order on social distancing.
This is as dangerous and unacceptable. The State Government will in the next few days take appropriate actions against all transporters should they fail to immediately enforce social distancing practices and the mandatory use of sanitizers and face masks in their operations.
We are equally monitoring the level of compliance to our restrictions on social gathering in all other local government areas and will take appropriate measures against communities that chose to imperil the lives of others by refusing to practice social distancing and operating within the prescriptions of the law.
I wish to restate that we cannot have our livelihoods without first having our lives intact, just as we owe it to ourselves and to our fellow citizens the ultimate duty to save lives.
The threat of this virous to our lives is incomparable to none and we must take every necessary measure, painful as some may be, to aggressively tackle it before it’s too late.
Finally, we appreciate all residents and visitors for the sacrifice and adjustments you are making in your daily lives in order to sustain the fight against this virus, protect other people and save lives.
We have no choice than to keep these measures and efforts up and with consistent prayers to God, we shall certainly overcome.
Thank you and God bless you all.