Coronavirus: Wike Closes All Borders, Bans Open Worship, Weddings And Burials

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

In a move to check the spread of coronavirus to Rivers State, the State Government on Wednesday announced that air, sea and land routes into the state will be closed to traffic, beginning 6pm, Thursday, March 26, 2020.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said in a broadcast on Wednesday, that the measure became necessary in view of recent developments.

He 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 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.”

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According to Governor Wike, the council decided that 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,” Wike said.

The Governor further stressed that all Land and Sea Borders will be closed.

He also stated that vehicular movements in an out of Rivers State have been banned. Adding that no vehicle will leave Rivers State for any other State and no vehicle will be allowed to enter the state.

Governor Wike said that the new measures will be in place until further notice.

He noted: “Let me reiterate that the situation we are facing requires drastic measures because coronavirus has ravaged many countries.

“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.

“May I once again call for the support and understanding of everyone living and doing business in Rivers State to help the relevant Government Agencies implement these measures to check the spread of coronavirus to the state.”

The Rivers State Governor added: “At this time in our national life, we must shun primordial sentiments and face the reality on the ground.

“I am confident that God being on our side, the temporary hardship we are facing today will come to an end very soon.”

Governor Wike recounted earlier measures taken by the Rivers State Government to tackle coronavirus, emphasising that they were still in force.
He said: “In that broadcast, I announced the setting up of Surveillance Posts at our land and sea borders, beginning from Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

“I also informed you that after due consultations with Religious Leaders, all forms of open worship including crusades and vigils were banned.

“Public Burials and weddings were prohibited, while public parks, night clubs and Cinemas were directed to close down.”

Ondo PDP: Makarfi Faction Insists Jegede Is Governorship Candidate

Ondo PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, Ahmed MakarfiCaretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reiterated its support for Mr Eyitayo Jegede as its only flag-bearer in the Saturday, November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.

The support was declared on Tuesday at a meeting between the factional PDP Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and the state chairmen in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

A statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, revealed that the meeting took place at the temporary Secretariat of the Party in Wuse II and deliberated on topical national issues.

The State Chairmen were briefed on the developments in the party and some certain decisions of leadership.

The meeting also received reports from the state chairmen on the state of affairs in their various territories.

It was equally optimistic that justice would surely be served and therefore, echoed full support for Mr Jegede, as its candidate in the Ondo governorship poll.

The leaders further called on all PDP supporters across Nigeria and the general public, especially Ondo State residents, to remain calm and continue to support them in moving the party forward.

One-Sided Justice

Meanwhile, a three-member special panel of the Court of Appeal handling the appeal cases of the Ondo PDP crisis on Tuesday recused from the panel, following allegations that the justices have been compromised.

The justices bowed out of the cases after considering a petition written by a factional Ondo State PDP Chairman, Mr Biyi Poroye, who claimed that the justices were likely to be biased against him.

In the petition dated October 31 and addressed to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the Poroye alleged that the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, had boasted in the public that he and his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, had settled the judges to do their bidding.

Mimiko Meets Buhari, Says Jegede Remains PDP's Lawful Candidate,
Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko

He also purported that Justice Sankey was transferred from Yola where Eyitayo Jegede, the appellant, who is also a senior lawyer, was practicing law for the past 15 years and that when the justice arrived in Akure, Governor Mimiko boasted that he catered for her to the tune of 100 million Naira.

The petitioner had consequently sought for the disbandment of the panel on the ground that his side would not get justice from the panel.

Ondo Governorship: PDP Crisis Continues As Appeal Court Panel Withdraws

Ondo PDP governorship candidate tussle The three-member special panel of the Court of Appeal handling the appeal cases of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in respect of the Ondo State governorship candidacy for the November 26 governorship election has disqualified itself following allegations that the justices have been compromised.

The three justices bowed out of the cases on Tuesday following a petition written by a factional chairman of the party in the state, Mr Biyi Poroye, who alleged that the justices were likely to be biased against him.

In the petition written on October 31 and addressed to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the petitioner alleged that Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State had boasted in the public that he and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State have settled the justices to do their bidding.

Poroye further alleged that Justice Sankey was transferred from Yola where Eyitayo Jegede, the appellant, who is also a senior lawyer, was practicing law for the past 15 years and that when the justice arrived in Akure, Governor Mimiko boasted that he catered for her to the tune of 100 million Naira.

In the circumstances, the petitioner demanded the disbandment of the panel on the ground that his side would not get justice from the panel.

‘Unfortunate And Un-godly Petition’

At the resumption of hearing of the matter on Tuesday, Justice Sankey drew the attention of lawyers in the case to the petition and demanded to know whether the panel could continue hearing of the case in spite of the strongly worded petition against them.

Lawyer to Mr Jegede, Wole Olanipekun, in his reaction said: “I am taken aback by the development and I was not copied”.

Mr Olanipekun describes the petition “as most embarrassing, unfair, unfortunate and un-godly because the justices have not taken any step to suggest any likelihood of bias.

“If any party should complain, it is my client, whose right has been aborted because of the removal of his name as a candidate of the PDP on the list by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”.

Counsel to the petitioner, Dr. Alex Izinyon, however, told reporters that he was speechless, having no prior knowledge of the petition.

“I have no inkling of the petition and was not consulted by my client before writing the petition,” he stressed.

Dr. Izinyon asked the court to invite the petitioner to the courtroom to explain the rationale behind his petition and to make clarifications on how he came about his claims.

“I have been caged by my client in his bid to make caricature of the court, I have come here to do my job in accordance to the law, I do not know how the court will react to this petition but I stand by you, justices of this court because I do not have any evidence that you have been compromised,” he told the panel.

After thorough consideration of the claims, Justice Sankey disqualified the panel.

“Ordinarily, since no fact had been put forward before the court to establish a case of likelihood of bias and since lawyers in this matter have all denied knowledge of the petition, ‘we would have minded to ignore the petition. But it is a settled law that when a case of likelihood of bias has been raised in a petition, it has to be looked into, even if the petition is frivolous,” she explained.

The head of the panel added that the panel members considered it necessary to disqualify themselves from all petitions in respect of Ondo PDP governorship matters.

“We hereby step down from this matter and the case files are to be returned to the president of this court for re-assignment to another panel,” Justice Sankey added.