The Federal Government has swiftly reacted to the allegations of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State accusing it of politicising the fight against coronavirus by assisting Lagos, leaving out Rivers as diversionary tactics.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Public Affairs, Aguri Ngelali, accused Governor Wike of adopting a knee-jerk reaction to the reported index of Coronavirus in the case in Rivers State.
Ajuri Ngelali, former Ace Correspondent for Daar Communications owners of AIT who is from Eleme local government area of Rivers, before his appointment as Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari said: “Governor Wike is not happy with the reactions of the people for the lockdown and closure of markets that would not allow people to access to food, goods and services. You even hear key PDP members distancing themselves from the closure of markets without alternatives. To distract the attention of the people, he decided to blame the Federal Government that it is giving Lagos money and none to Rivers,” Ngelali said.
Ngelali who spoke to the CoolWazobiaInfo FM in Port Harcourt by telephone also clarified that the Federal Government is building Isolation Centres in Port Harcourt in conjunction with the private sector even without a request by the State Government.
“As we speak, the Federal Government is establishing a-210 bed Isolation Centre in conjunction with the private sector. The Governor didn’t ask for it. It is being done because of the proactive nature Presidential Taskforce on Covid19.”
Meanwhile, Rivers residents have questioned the rationale for the Governor’s order that only 5 hours will be allowed for all markets to reopen for them to restock for only Tuesday, April 7 and 8 for the Easter and later shut down again. They pointed out that the short period will give room for marketers to restock to consumers to buy. Again, they argued that the short period will give rise to panic buying and rushing, defeating the social distancing policy.
Governor Wike had announced that in a broadcast on Sunday night that all markets will be opened except Oil Mill Market, Slaughter Market and Mbiama Markets that will remain shut.
In a broadcast on Sunday, Governor Wike condemned the exclusion of Rivers State from the Federal Government grants in the fight against coronavirus. He noted that despite the exclusion of the state, the Federal Government has continued to endanger the State by flying expatriates into Rivers State.
He said: “It is quite unfortunate that the containment of coronavirus has been politicized by the Federal Government. While Lagos State received a grant of N10billion as a commercial hub, Rivers State as the nation’s oil and gas hub that produces a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth has not received any support from the Federal Government.
“One wonders why the Federal Government should single out a state out of 36 States to give support. Does it mean that support will come when a State has a record of over 50 infected persons before it gets support? No state should be seen as more important than any other state. This is a Federal Republic. No state is superior to others.
“Rivers State is entitled to support from the Federal Government. Every day, we are inundated with letters from the Federal Government to allow oil companies to fly in expatriates to drill oil. Then we ask, what is the status of those coming from Lagos? Nobody has told us their status as regards Coronavirus”.