COVID-19: Rivers to set up task force to protect its borders

…Set to employ 3, 000 environmental sanitation marshals

The Wike-led administration in Rivers state is to establish a task force to man the state’s closed borders to ensure that Rivers people are protected from the deadly coronavirus.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike signing Executive Order RVSG-02 No. 3 -2020, Quarantine (Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other infectious diseases) Regulations (No. 2-2020) and Dumping of Waste in Public Places (Prohibition) Bill 2020 at the Government House, Port Harcourt

Signing the Executive Order RVSG-02 No. 3 -2020 at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday, Governor Nyesom Wike said the task force would be in place because of the likelihood of sabotage from federal security agencies.

He said: “This is the third executive order that I will be signing since the coronavirus pandemic started. This third executive order is very important.

“We suspect there will be sabotage on the part of the security agencies. That is why we are appointing a task force to man our borders. We owe our people a duty to protect them.

“There is likely to be sabotage. Our task force will be at the borders to protect our people.”

Gov. Wike said that contrary to the falsehood being peddled on the release of Exxon Mobil staff, it was strictly on the intervention of respected Nigerians and not due to the threat to embark on strike.

“No federal agency spoke to us. But, there were respected Nigerians who intervened and they were released by 8am on Sunday.

“ExxonMobil signed and agreed that they will take back their staff to Eket. That was the condition we gave for their release,” he said.

Gov. Wike announced that the laws on restriction of movement must be implemented for the safety of everyone.

“On Sunday, we arrested some staff of BOA who violated the law. They have been arraigned in court and remanded,” he added.

He reiterated that coronavirus was no respecter of persons, pointing out that it has killed both influential and less privileged, hence the need to be more vigilant.

On the Dumping of Waste in Public Places (Prohibition) Bill 2020, Gov. Wike announced that the state government would employ 3,000 environmental sanitation marshals to implement the law.

He said that his administration was committed to the improvement of the sanitation of the state.

Majority Leader of the Rivers state House of Assembly, Martins Amaehwule, said the bill would stop the dumping of wastes on road median by residents.

Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zaccheus Adangor, said the two legal instruments signed by the state governor would help in the fight against coronavirus.

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He said the Quarantine (Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other Infectious Diseases) Regulations (No. 2-2020) stipulates non-custodial sentences for offenders, adding that individuals will be fined 50,000 while corporate organizations will be fined N1 million.

He said that the regulations direct the chief judge of the state to assign a judge or magistrate to try offenders.

The commissioner said the executive order empowers the state government to set up a task force to implement all legislations related to the fight against coronavirus.

Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Ikuinyi Ibani, thanked the state governor for his commitment to the defence of the state.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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