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Wike Takes ‘Painful Decisions’ As COVID-19 Spreads In Nigeria

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Governor Nyesom Wike (image courtesy: Rivers Government House)

Governor Nyesom Wike has announced the closure of air, sea and land borders into Rivers state, southern Nigeria, with effect from Thursday, March 26, 2020, as a result of the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Wike, in a state broadcast on Wednesday, said Rivers, one of oil-producing states in Nigeria, took this ‘painful decisions’ to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As of now, Africa’s most populous nation has confirmed 46 coronavirus cases, of which one has died and two discharged.

Wike said: “It is with gratitude to God that I announce to you that our State would have been infected with Coronavirus yesterday, but for the vigilance of security agents who, acting on a tip- off prevented an infected person from boarding a flight from Abuja to Port Harcourt.

“The infected person beat all security measures that were put in place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and was to sneak into Port Harcourt before security agents stopped her.

“Based on this alarming Information, the State Security Council met yesterday and reviewed measures already put in place and decided that there was urgent need to adopt stringent measures to protect those living and doing business in the state from the virus.

“The council has therefore taken the following painful decisions: With effect from 6pm on Thursday, March 26, 2020, the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, will not be open to air traffic. While we may not have the right to stop flights from entering Port Harcourt, we cannot allow anybody coming from the airport to enter our State. We are confident that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other federal agencies will cooperate with us.

“All Land and Sea Borders will be closed. Vehicular movements in an out of the state have been banned. In essence no vehicle will leave Rivers State for any other State and no vehicle will be allowed to enter the state.”

Wike, who  said that the new measures would be in place till further notice, also said, “Security Agencies have been empowered to strictly enforce this directive. There will be no room for sacred cows because the virus is no respecter of persons.”

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