Rivers lockdown: GOV WIKE EXTENDS ‘FREEDOM’ FOR P’HARCOURT, OBIOR/AKPOR RESIDENTS TILL SUNDAY, MAY 17; MAINTAINS DUSK TO DAWN CURFEW, MANDATORY FACE MASK, OTHER DIRECTIVES/EXECUTIVE ORDERS

David Diai

Gov. Nyesom Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has extended the ‘freedom’ enjoyed by residents of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government areas in the last two days, till Sunday 17th May.

The extention was announced by the Governor in a statewide broadcast on Wednesday May 13 2020, following the relaxation of the total lockdown of the two LGAs for two days, which commenced on Tuesday and was expected to expire on Thursday, when the lockdown would return.

There were scenes of unrestrained excitment and in some cases, wild and euphoric jubilation on the streets of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor, the main Local government areas of the state capital territory, and whoops of joy rent the air when the largely unexpected announcement came through in Governor Wike’s broadcast.

Those who heard the news first, shouted the glad tidings across the streets to friends, neighbors and passersby, some who were hurrying home to beat the curfew and others just standing in front of their houses in spaced clusters, relishing the last vestiges of the freshness of an unfettered day and basking in the cool evening breeze in perhaps what was to be a last existential ritual of freedom.

The next lockdown, which was anticipated with growing inmate mentality, had even achieved sinister dimensions with the ominous Federal government imposed curfew looming frighteningly in the dark night like a nebulous companion of the unseen Coronavirus and the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic, which had already shut down their lives with stunned, unannounced uncertainty.

Residents in the two Local government areas, had embarked on a frenzied and panicky shopping spree on Tuesday and Wednesday, following the relaxation of the lockdown for two days and there were frenetic last minute flurries of pre-lockdown activities as frantic efforts to be best prepared for an anticipated indefinite stay-at-home, chased those still on the roads, into the near hours before the existing dusk to dawn curfew which had garrissoned respective neighbourhoods commenced, to unleash the dreaded task forces who gleefully discharged a very necessary enforcement regime of unmitigated but instructive terror on loiterers and the unfortunate citizens who were still outside after 8pm, with crusading zealotry.

The good news of the extension of lockdown relaxation, which no doubt was well received and approved from the expressions that greeted it’s announcement, also came with some long sighs of resignation and many exlamations of fatigue and temporary exhaustion as they began to savour the extension, was however laced with the already existing restrictions and directives viz:

(I). A night-time curfew in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas from 8.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. on Thursday 14th May 2020, Friday 15th May 2020, and Saturday 16th May 2020.

(2) The total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas will immediately follow from 8.00 p.m. Sunday 17th May 2020 until further notice.

(3). Furthermore, all residents are again advised to comply with all other established measures, including the compulsory wearing of face masks and the closure of our land, sea and air boundaries and entry routes, which are still in force.

(4). Residents are expected and advised to make good use of the new Four-day daytime window to purchase, restock and prepare for the total lockdown.

Governor Wike, who noted that the lockdown had no doubt caught most residents in the two affected Local Government Areas unawares and prevented many from preparing and making adequate provisions for the upkeep of their families, however stressed that it was a necessary measure, universally applied, to mitigate community transmission of the covid-19 pandemic.

While emphasizing that the Rivers situation cannot be different from others, the Governor pointed out that the increasing number of Covid-19 infections as the state recorded 16 new cases which is the highest since the index case, goes to confirm widespread apprehension for the State and the need to be tough in mitigation strategies.

He emphatically stated that there was no room for politics in the matter and while expressing that he understood the consequential difficulties of some government actions, reiterated the thrust that govt must discharge its abiding duty to use the primary weapons at its disposal to combat this virus and contain its spread, to avoid the regretable consequences of inactivity and indiscretions.

The Rivers Governot appealed to the public to endure the attendant discomfort as inevitable sacrifice for the common good of all, even as he quickly added that, though no deliberate harm was intended or targeted at anybody and the government was not happy with the prevailing hardship on the people as a result of measures adopted to fight this deadly virus, the overall interest, security and wellbeing of our people remains the primary motivation for what has been done and will continue to be done to combat and protect our State from the Covid-19 scourge.

Governor Wike then thanked residents of the two LGAs for their ccooperation and concluded thus: “Once again, thank you for your cooperation as we continue to do all we can to stop the spread of this virus in our State with your support by staying at home and staying safe. Thank you and God bless you all.”

Below is the full text of the broadcast

Gov. Wike

A STATE-WIDE BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY, NYESOM EZENWO WIKE, GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE ON WEDNESDAY MAY 13 2020.

My Dear Good People of Rivers State,

2. As we all know, the restoration of the total lockdown order in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas was to take effect from Thursday, May 14th 2020.

3. However, while on routine monitoring, I observed how difficult it has been for residents to access money from their banks to make purchases during the Two-Day window that was given.

4. This difficulty has, no doubt, prevented most residents of the two affected Local Government Areas from preparing and making adequate provisions for the upkeep of their families when the lockdown returns.

5. Time and time again, we have said that the lockdown is a necessary measure, universally applied, to mitigate community transmission of the covid-19 pandemic.

6. Our own situation is not and can’t be different. Covid-19 is not only here with us; it is increasing in number of infections as we recorded 16 new cases for today, the highest since the index case, which goes to confirm not only my personal apprehension for our State and the need to be d tough in our mitigation strategies.

7. And so, there is no room for politics in this matter. We must discharge our abiding duty to use the primary weapons at our disposal to combat this virus and contain its spread, lest we regret the consequences of our inactivity and indiscretions.

8. We understand the consequential difficulties, but what we can do in the circumstance is to appeal to the public to endure the attendant discomfort as inevitable sacrifice for the common good of all.

9. Suffice to mention that no deliberate harm is ever intended or targeted at anybody neither are we happy with the prevailing hardship on the people as a result of measures we have adopted to fight this deadly virus.

10. But, the overall interest, security and wellbeing of our people remain our primary motivation for what we have done and will continue to do to combat and protect our State from the Covid-19 scourge.

11. In consideration of the foregoing, the concerns of our people, and the need for residents to replenish their supplies, especially, the State Security Council has decided to impose a night-time curfew and review the effective date of the complete lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas from the 14th of May 2020 to Sunday 17th May 2020 by 8.00 p.m.

12. Consequently, there will be:

(i) a night-time curfew in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas from 8.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. on Thursday 14th May 2020, Friday 15th May 2020, and Saturday 16th May 2020.

(ii) while the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas will immediately follow from 8.00 p.m. Sunday 17th May 2020 until further notice.

13. Furthermore, all residents are again advised to comply with all other established measures, including the compulsory wearing of face masks and the closure of our land, sea and air boundaries and entry routes, which are still in force.

14. We expect residents to make good use of the new Four-day daytime window to purchase, restock and prepare for the total lockdown.

15. Once again, thank you for your cooperation as we continue to do all we can to stop the spread of this virus in our State with your support by staying at home and staying safe.

16. Thank you and God bless you all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.