COVID-19: Wike threatens to re-impose lockdown on Rivers

L-R: Ibrahim Eddy Mark; Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike; Mrs Priscilla Nwanediye Mark; Governor of Sokoto State, His Excellency, Aminu Tambuwal during the thanksgiving church service in celebration of the 90th birthday of Mrs. Mark, at the St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government on Sunday.

By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has threatened to re-impose lock down on the state in January if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge and the residents refused to abide by protocols prescribed to stop the spread of the virus

The Governor issued the threat while speaking at thanksgiving celebration of 90th birthday of Mrs. Priscilla Nwanediye Mark, mother of Eddy Mark, a business man, at the St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the State on Sunday.

Wike lamented that most churches and markets in the State have refused  to enforce compulsory wearing of face mask in adherence to COVID-19 protocol.

He said the State government had initially relaxed the restriction on the number of worshipers in churches, but with second wave of COVID-19, he will by this week announce new stringent measures to check the spread of COVID-19 cases in the State.

“When you go to some churches, they don’t wear mask. Go to market, they don’t wear mask. They believe COVID is not real. It’s not real because it has not happened to you; nobody had died whom you know. When somebody has died and the person was close to you, you will know that COVID is real.

“So, it is real and I want to appeal to all of you that we have to be more strict now because the second wave is more dangerous than the first wave. It’s very, very dangerous. I know how many people we have lost since the second wave started.”

Wike implored the Bishop of Diocese of Ikwerre to prevail on members of all the churches under his jurisdiction to always wear their face mask.

“If you don’t comply, I have no choice, but to shut down the churches; Pentecostal, Catholic,  Anglican. I have no choice, because when you have it, who spends the money? It is the state that treats. So, we need to use the money for some other things, but not for this. Let us discipline ourselves and know that COVID is real. Let nobody should tell you that there is nothing like COVID. It’s real.”

The governor urged Peoples Democratic Party leaders in Ikwerre Local government area to use Mrs Mark’s 90th birthday to work in unison for the development of the area.

He also used the occasion to extol the chairman of Ikwerre local government, Samuel Nwanosike for his commitment to the development of the area.

Wike, however urged Nwanosike to respect party leaders and ensure that all stakeholders work in unison to move the State forward.

The governor, who was accompanied by the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, announced donation of N50 million to the church.

Delivering a sermon titled “Thanking God for His Mercy” the Bishop, Diocese of Ikwerre, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Right Reverend Blessing Enyindah, stressed the need for people to always acknowledge God’s mercies in their lives.

Bishop Enyindah who observed that this is an era in which people lived below the lifespan of 50 years, said it was the mercy of God that made Mrs. Priscilla Mark  attain 90 years.

He admonished people to inculcate the habit of living healthy lifestyle and commit their lives to God  to be able to live up-to 90 years.

Our correspondent reports that on Sunday, December 27, by the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control, NCDC, announces discovery of 40 cases of the virus in Rivers State.

In spite of the surging number of COVID-19 cases, there has been outright non-compliance to Covid-19 Protocols in public places like markets, shopping malls and in the State.

Also, regular washing of hands, use of hand sanitizers and the compulsory wearing of face masks are no more being complied with.