Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has threatened that the state government will not hesitate to acquire any beer parlour or public drinking joint caught operating.
On Thursday, March 26, 2020, the Governor in a television broadcast directed closure of all businesses in the state and ordered residents to sit at home.
This was part of efforts to protect the state from the coronavirus pandemic, which eventually found its way into the state some hours after the televised address.
On Monday (yesterday), Mr Wike, in another broadcast, expressed his displeasure over the non-compliance of the state government’s directive.
He said some markets have continued to violate the sit-at-home order, saying, “We have no choice than to make some painful, but necessary decisions to further prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.”
According to him, after a meeting of the State Security Council, it was agreed that, “With effect from Tuesday March 31, 2020, there will be a dusk to dawn curfew from Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba and from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction, Ikwerre Road.
“All beer parlours and public drinking joints are hereby closed because they have suddenly become an extension of night clubs that were earlier shut down.
“Any beer parlour or public drinking joint found to be open shall be acquired by the State Government.
“All landlords are advised to warn their tenants who use their property as beer parlours or public drinking joints to adhere to this directive.
“Traditional Rulers, Youth Leaders and Community Development Committees are to ensure that beer parlours and public drinking joints in their areas remain closed.
“Any Traditional Ruler who allows markets to be open in his domain will be deposed.
“Government is investigating the illegal operation of markets at night at Woji and Elelenwo Communities. Further violation by residents of these two communities will attract declaration of curfew.
“Further flagrant violation of the closure of markets will attract a state-wide declaration of curfew. We must understand that people must be alive before they eat food.”
However, he said those in the medical and pharmaceutical, food and beverages, essential oil and gas, petroleum products, and media sectors would be exempted from the lockdown.
He noted that, “All these categories of staff must identify themselves with valid identity cards.”
According to him, to make this easy for people in the state, “government is looking into the setting up of food markets across the state.”
“As a result of the flagrant violation of the closure of markets in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, the Local Government Council Chairman and his Deputy, are hereby suspended indefinitely,” he declared.
Concluding, the Governor said “government will continue to do what is right no matter who is involved. As you are all aware, no conventional war has grounded global life and economy like coronavirus has done.
“I want to sincerely express my heartfelt gratitude to our health professionals on the frontline of this fight. Let me also thank all the security agencies, individuals and organisations who are collaborating with us to make Rivers State safe.
“I am confident that with our collective resolve our dear state will contain the spread of this virus.”