Governor Wike: Senior police officer sabotaging lockdown in Rivers


Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike has ordered the closure of largest beef and livestock market in the State located in the Trans-Amadi area of Port Harcourt indefinitely.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has accused a Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state of sabotaging the lockdown imposed on the state to check the spread of the coronavirus in the state by issuing illegal letters to companies to operate.

He also commended Rivers people for complying with the lockdown declared by the state government to check the spread of coronavirus.

When contacted at press time, Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, who was said to be in company of the state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan for an emergency meeting with the governor to deal with the matter, said, “We will respond, we will respond.”

Wike spoke in an interview after monitoring the level of compliance, yesterday, during which several offenders, including a private guard and others were arrested and dragged to the state Isolation Centre, Elekahia.

He said: “I want to commend Rivers people for the level of support they have shown. The level of compliance is quite satisfactory. It is more than 95 percent within the two local government areas of the state.

“It is unfortunate to see the level of sabotage that we get from the police. Particularly, a Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state. The Deputy Commissioner of Police will sign approvals for companies. I am the governor of this state and there cannot be two governors.

“The Deputy Commissioner of Police has no powers to issue approvals when the state government has locked down the state. After the State Security Council met and agreed on the lockdown, the Deputy Commissioner of Police went ahead to issue illegal letters to companies to operate. I have never seen anything in my life.”

“All these violators must be prosecuted at the mobile court set for this purpose. What we are doing is not for any particular individual, it is for the interest of the state.

“Our people are suffering, I agree. But this is something we must do. When we examine the level of compliance and it is reasonable, of course, we will unlock the two councils.

“It is not in our own interest that people shouldn’t come out or go to the markets. But we are talking about lives and how to protect our people. Look at what is happening in other parts of the country, but the Deputy Commissioner of Police wants us to suffer.

“I have called for an emergency security Council meeting. This is a complete sabotage by the Deputy Commissioner of Police. We will deal with that accordingly.

“I however, thank the Army, the Navy and others on what they are doing to enforce the lockdown.

“For the Deputy Commissioner of Police to sabotage us, that will not be accepted. I arrested those people and he had the guts to tell them to release those I arrested on the road. That is unacceptable. ”

Wike insisted that the impounded vehicles would be auctioned.

He said, “The defaulters will be tried by the Mobile Courts and I have told the Attorney General, all the impounded vehicles must be auctioned. By tomorrow, the Attorney General would have advertised those vehicles and we will auction them.

“Some people don’t believe that Coronavirus is in existence. Until you make them understand that we are serious, they will not believe it. We will auction the impounded vehicles

“Those arrested will face the wrath of the law. Nobody is above the law. We will not allow anyone to sabotage our efforts to protect our people,” he said.

In the course of monitoring the level of compliance, Wike arrested several violators and impounded cars.

Wike also arrested some very important persons (VIPS), who were not on essential duties, but were moving around with their police escorts.

Meanwhile, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, yesterday, ordered five truckloads of almajiris including other passengers from the Northern part of the country back to their states of origin.

Vanguard learned that a border patrol team, comprising of Peace Corp members, civilian Vigilantes, Border COVID-19 Taskforce had intercepted the trucks yesterday night at the Gakem border town in Bekwara LGA of the state near Benue State.

A source who pleaded anonymity told newsmen that the team was led by a commissioner, who said it was the result of intensive search and blockade of interstate vehicular travels, which his team was poised to enforce.

“After a thorough check on the five trucks, we discovered that most of the passengers, aside goods, were almajiris who did not meet COVID19 protocols, we had to force them to return, he said.

The commissioner appealed to the Chairman of COVID 19 to visit the truck parks in the state and caution their drivers against indulging in conveying almajiris, who have not been isolated.

State security adviser, Dr Alfred Mboto, said his officers at the scene had briefed him on the development.

“We got report from our security and taskforce teams at the Garkem border town yesterday night that trucks carrying large number of children from the North alleged to be almajiris were intercepted after thorough check and have been turned back,” Mboto said.

Reacting also, Special Adviser to Governor Ayade on Media and Publicity, Mr Christian Ita, said, “Cross River is not the first state ordering people to return to where they were coming from, but it’s simply about following protocol. We are not sure about these people, we had to turn them back.

“It’s not about the North or their region, we simply don’t know their status and as such we had to follow standard procedure by telling them to return to where they were coming from,” he said.

In similar vein, activities of security operatives in Edo State have remained the major obstacle to checking the spread of coronavirus in Edo State.

Despite the situation, the state has no fewer than 600 holding facilities for patients even though as at yesterday, 65 cases have been confirmed.

It was gathered that on several occasions, security agencies compromise in their task to enforce restriction in movement of persons.

It was gathered that the 110 persons arrested on Wednesday where 84 of them were on their way from Kano and 26 from Rivers was traced to compromise by security agents.

It was further gathered that the state government was already planning new strategies to complement the efforts of security agencies to stop compromise of the security protocol in place.

The daily life style of the people, who depend on daily survival is also a challenge, it was gathered

On the level of preparedness of the state government, Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie said, “As I speak to you, the state has no fewer than 2,000 testing kits to enhance testing of suspected cases. The state has no fewer than 600 bed spaces for confirmed cases in the state, as at today (Thursday), we have 65 confirmed cases.

“The state government is adequately prepared for this. We have established collaboration with federal health institutions. As at today, we have four testing centres. The governor met with all federal health institutions in the state, the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, ISTH, Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital to check what they have and what support the state government can offer. So we are working.”

Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom State government has insisted that hotels and recreational centres would remain closed despite the relaxation of lockdown due to the spread of the deadly Covid 19 in the state.

This comes as no fewer than 10 patients have fully recovered from the illness which claimed two lives.

Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, reiterated the warning to the people of the state against flouting the guidelines and safety measures put in place to enhance economic activities in the state.

Ekpo while addressing management staff of his office in Uyo who returned to work in line with government directive, advised the people to be conscious as the danger of COVID-19 was not yet over, stressing that the Akwa Ibom residents should remain conscious during this emergency situation.

The security sub-committee of Bayelsa State Task Force on Covid-19 has read riot act to traders at the popular Zarama market in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state on the need to maintain social distancing as part of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic in the state.

The security sub-committee headed by the Technical Assistant on Security, Doctor Boma Spero-Jack, who visited the weekly market frowned at the lack of social distancing among those doing business there.

The committee restated government’s earlier directive that the market should only be opened for trading on Fridays.

Meanwhile, human rights organisation, COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peace Building has asked the Akwa Ibom State Police command to disclose the amount of money they have so far received from both the federal and state government for welfare of policemen deployed on Covid-19 lockdown enforcement.

State executive director of the group, Saviour Akpan, in a letter addressed to the state Commissioner of Police said, “We have observed that Police in Akwa Ibom state especially the men that are deployed on Covid-19 duty looks extremely worn out, not well dressed, operating in the last three to four weeks without a face mask and above all transferring such unhealthy feelings to members of the public, thereby, continuing in widening the gap of antagonism between the force and the general public.

”Consequently, we are requesting from you (CP) in line with sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 for a disclosure be within seven working days as stipulated by the law, how much released so far from March 29, 2020 to April 30, 2020 from the Federal Government to the police command with regards to the welfare of the officers and men of the command on enforcement of lockdown and how much has been disbursed to the beneficiaries.

“Also how much was received from Akwa Ibom State government during same period and how much has been disbursed to the beneficiaries.”

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