Rivers Govt Warns Against Attempts To Blackmail NCDC
The Rivers State Government says its attention has been drawn to a recent petition, signed by one Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari, owner of the Prodest Hotel and dated 24th May 2020.
According to a communique by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, the petition was to the effect that a certain ‘convicted’ Manager of Prodest Hotel, Mr. Bariledum Job Azoroh, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 amongst 27 others, in a result released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), may have been infected on the instructions of the government.
In its response to the petition, the Rivers State Government stated that it had restrained itself from responding to previous similar publications by the same person, because the subject matter was still before a court of competent jurisdiction.
The government however, noted that it is now compelled to reply to what it terms an “obviously spurious, deliberately misleading and intentionally provocative petition with a proper response, to set the records straight and caution the sponsors of this action from further peddling such falsehoods in the public space”.
“For the avoidance of doubt and for the information of the general public, let us state categorically here that the FACTS of this matter are very clear, viz:
“A Port Harcourt Senior Magistrates’ Court on May 18th, 2020 convicted Mr. Bariledum Azoro, Manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme and sentenced him to a fine of N50,000 for contravening paragraphs 3 and 4 of Executive Order RVSG 07 2020 on closure of hotels, guest houses and related outfits and provision of manifests in the state.
“The Senior Magistrates’ Court also ordered that the convict, Mr Azoroh should be quarantined in the isolation centre at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Elekahia for 14 days, to ascertain his coronavirus status.
“That while in the court-ordered quarantine, competent health officials carried out mandatory tests on all suspected coronavirus individuals at the centre, including Mr.Bariledum Job Azoroh, to ascertain their COVID-19 status.
“It is important to state here that COVID-19 tests undergo World Health Organization, (WHO) and NCDC guidelines and are conducted under strict established medical protocols.
“That prior to the publication of the test results, the owner of Prodest Hotel in Eleme, Mr Gogorobari Needam had published one of his misleading petitions in an attempt to preempt the outcome of the test and the question we want to ask is: ‘Why did the hotel owner try to preempt the outcome of the test. Was he trying to cover up something?
“That on Sunday, 24th May, 2020, the NCDC announced that Rivers State had 27 recorded positive cases including Mr.Bariledum Job Azoroh, from tests carried out in the state.
“That following the official announcement of the result and confirmation of his Manager’s COVID-19 positive status, the Prodest Hotel owner has once again released another statement and this time is now calling for a state of emergency in Rivers State because his manager tested positive for COVID-19.
“Rivers people will recall that on May 19, 2020, we raised an alarm intimating the world of a clandestine plot by some Abuja politicians hiding under the cover of Covid-19 to instigate a State of Emergency in the state. Today, a hotel owner in Eleme, who lives in Lagos is also now calling for a State of Emergency. Is there any wonder therefore as to who is beating the drum for him?
“Indeed there seems to be more to this than meets the ordinary eye and we are calling on all well-meaning people to see the need to interrogate this man and know that he is acting out a script. In-fact, the entire petition sounds and reads like something lifted directly from the copy book of those who have been desperately trying to run down the Rivers State Government. This is desperation taken too far.
“We even recall vividly that Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari had in an interview published in the Punch Newspaper of May 15, 2020 titled: “No ill feeling towards Wike for demolishing my hotel – Gogorobari”, actually stated categorically that he holds no grudge against Governor Wike for demolishing the hotel.
“His words: ‘Who am I not to forgive him? I don’t hold any grudge against him. I just feel that God wanted it to happen that way”. So what happened to make him change his mind? Is it not obvious that the agents of evil and those who do not mean well for Rivers State have reached him and are now beating this drum of dissent for him?'”the government’s communique partly read.
The Rivers Government also stressed categorically that the government doesn’t conduct COVID-19 tests, adding that the state has trained health professionals who follow the relevant medical protocols set down by WHO, the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, to conduct the tests.
The government further noted that the claim suggesting that the Pro Hotel manager, Mr. Bariledum Job Azoroh, was infected while in detention is not only laughable and preposterous, but sad, and dangerously exposes the amazing ignorance and naivety of Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari and those sponsoring him about the deadly nature of the COVID-19 disease.
“Rather than commend the Rivers State Government for stemming the tide of infection that would have arisen if the Hotel used for clandestine parties was not demolished and the Manager arrested, the owner is crying wolf where there is none.
“We also want to caution Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari to be very mindful of his claims that his hotel Manager ‘has been framed up by an unorthodox hired medical officers recruited by Governor Wike with a report that he has tested positive to COVID-19 whilst in detention of the Rivers State Government'”.
“This is a clear accusation and indictment of the reputation and authority of the NCDC.
“We also want to call the attention of Mr. Needam Gogorobari that we take exception to his description of the Isolation Centre in Port Harcourt, as an ‘illegal detention facility at the Stadium in Elekahia, Port Harcourt’ and to inform him and his sponsors that the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and a team from the World Health Organization, were in Rivers State on a working visit in April this year and not only praised Governor Nyesom Wike for his leadership and handling of the COVOID-19 outbreak but also applauded his medical health team and all the facilities put in place in response to the Coronavirus”.
The Rivers government said it will be keen to know how the NCDC will react, when they read Mr Gogorobari’s description of a facility which the health agency approved, as ‘a detention centre’.
The government assure the good people of the state to remain resolute in their fight to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state, adding that the leadership will not be deterred by cheap blackmail and misleading propaganda.
Governor Wike through his aide, stated that his government is determined to employ and deploy appropriate strategies to keep Rivers State safe.
He called on all residents to work together with the government to defeat COVID-19 in Rivers State, adding that by the grace of God the state will be victorious.