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COVID-19: Wike hints at fresh lockdown in Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Sunday said he would be re-introducing a fresh phase of lockdown in the state over the second wave of COVID-19 and rising number of new positive cases.

According to a statement by Wike’s media aide, Kelvin Ebiri l, on Sunday, the governor gave the hint during a thanksgiving ceremony held for Mrs. Priscilla Nwanediye Mark on her 90th birthday at St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government on Sunday.

Ebiri said the governor described as worrisome, the refusal of most churches and markets in the state to enforce the compulsory wearing of face mask in adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Governor Wike, according to the statement, said the state government had initially relaxed the restriction on the number of persons who worship in churches, but with the second wave of COVID-19, he would by this week announce new stringent measures to check the spread of COVID-19 cases in the state.

He said: “When you go to some churches, they don’t wear masks. Go to the market, they don’t wear masks. 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,” he stated.

He also urged the Bishop of the Diocese of Ikwerre to prevail on members of all the churches under his jurisdiction to always wear their face masks and observe extant protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

“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 tell you that there is nothing like COVID. It’s real.”

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

The governor also used the occasion to commend the chairman of Ikwerre local government, Samuel Nwanosike for his commitment to the development of the area, urging him 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 the donation of N50 million to the church.

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