SAHARANEWS Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has decried what he characterised as a “double standard” by the Federal Government in regard to the repatriation of Almajiris.
Governor Wike charged authorised traditional rulers on Tuesday to set up task forces in their respective communities to enforce the closure of markets, hotels and beer parlours across the state.
Addressing the traditional rulers at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said the action was necessary to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Speaking on the issue of the repatriation of Almajiri children, Governor Wike remarked: “When they started relocating the Almajiris in the North, the Federal Government said nothing. Immediately they heard that we have relocated some Almajiris, they came up with the declaration that it is against the inter-state movement. Why is this double standard?”
Governor Wike noted that his administration had continued to work on the State’s borders to ensure that they remain closed.
He charged local government chairmen to take more stringent measures to stop the influx of persons into the State.
The governor appealed to the traditional rulers to work with his administration to check the transmission of COVID-19.
“Set up your own task force in your respective domains and implement the closure of markets, hotels, and beer parlours,” he said.
“This task force is strictly for COVID-19. The state government will support all traditional rulers to carry out these responsibilities.”
The governor called on council chairmen to ensure that they supported the traditional rulers to deliver on the directive.
He warned that from Thursday any shop building that is open in Obio/Akpor or Port Harcourt local government area would be demolished.
On the closure of markets, Governor Wike said that the State Food Purchasing Committee headed by the Secretary to the Rivers State Government would purchase the food items and distribute them to the people.
Commenting on the compulsory use of face masks, Governor Wike remarked that he would “use politicians and traditional rulers as examples” should they violate the order.
“I want to use politicians and traditional rulers as examples if they fail to wear face masks in their cars. If you are not wearing face masks in your cars, you will be arrested and prosecuted,” the governor warned.
Governor Wike advised the people of Rivers not to wait for the support of the Federal Government but to concentrate on the recommended strategies to reduce the spread of the virus.
He said that anywhere a market continues to operate in the State, the traditional ruler will lose his recognition.
“Go home and tell your people, anywhere I see a market operating, the traditional ruler will lose his recognition.
“We must check people entering our State and don’t wait for the support of the Federal Government. Let’s work to reduce the number.
“As the hotels remain closed, those coming in will have nowhere to stay. When we are safe, we can enjoy what we can. I am not doing this because I hate anyone, but it is for the protection of our people.
“No human being will see death and embrace it. We cannot kill ourselves. The only solution is to ensure social distancing and proper hygiene.”