By Amara Christa
• Lalong slashes recurrent expenditure by 40% as revenue falls by 51%
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, yesterday said he has had no close contact with Chief of Staff (COS) to the President, Abba Kyari, before or after he (Kyari) tested positive for Coronavirus.
He stated this when he visited the Isolation Centre, newly created by the state government at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Okolobiri, in Yenagoa Council Area of the state.
Diri, who visited the isolation centre to ensure that everything was in place in the fight against the virus, urged all Bayelsa people to maintain personal hygiene, avoid social gatherings of over 50 persons, saying it was the only way to prevent the spread of the disease until a cure was found.
His words: “I had no close contacts with Bauchi State Governor, Bala Muhammed and Abba Kyari. When I visited President Muhammadu Buhari, the COS was not available, as he was said to be on an official assignment in Kogi State.
“For that of Bauchi Governor, we had a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting where almost all governors were in attendance. I was seated just after Bauchi Governor, we shook hands and also exchanged pleasantries, but as at then, he had not come in contact with Atiku’s son and so, I have no link with anyone diagnosed with the virus.”
Besides, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has banned visitors to Government House, except those on invitation, saying the state government would take over any cinema or nightclub that opens for operations.
Wike stated this shortly after inaugurating the task force on enforcement of the ban on public and religious gatherings at Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday.He said, “Any cinema or nightclub that opens will be acquired by the state government. We have banned people from coming to Government House, except invited persons.”
The governor said the State Government was working to save Rivers people through measures being in place to tackle the spread of Coronavirus and ensure that residents were protected from the scourge.
Meanwhile, the people of Plateau State should prepare for a total shutdown should precautionary measures being contemplated by the state government against Coronavirus come into effect.
The steps being mooted by government include reduction of the state’s recurrent expenditure by 40 per cent, slashing of allowances of political office holders by 50 per cent, while social facilities, night clubs, bars are to close with immediate effect, but restaurants are advised to prepare takeaways for their customers to avoid over crowding.
In a statewide broadcast, Governor Simon Lalong noted that in view of the crowd associated with markets, government directed all markets to close effective March 25, 2020.
He also explained that due to fall in oil prices at the international market, revenue accruing to the state from the Federation Account had plunged by over 51 per cent.