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West Africa

Security agencies allow COVID-19 infected persons into Rivers, alleges Wike

Security agencies at the various boundaries of Rivers State have been accused by Governor Nyesom Wike of allowing people infected with COVID-19 into the state.

Meanwhile, as part of measures to avert sudden slide into community transmission after the state recorded additional six new cases of the virus, among them five children, last Thursday, the governor has announced mandatory wearing of facemask in all public gatherings.

With 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections in Rivers, Wike alleged that an oil worker who was infected offshore had passed a night in a Lagos hotel before returning to Port Harcourt on April 9, 2020, with the aid of the security personnel manning the borders.

The governor said the state government would review all the permits granted oil companies to move workers to oil platforms.

“Again, on April 29, our surveillance team picked up two men from Niger Republic, who came into the state from Lagos with the help of security personnel despite the closure of the entry routes into the state. And so, as long as security personnel continue to allow people with this virus into the state through the closed borders without first ensuring that they are quarantined and their infection status determined, our state and our people will be exposed to the threat of contracting COVID-19,” he said.

He said that state owned border security task force had been mandated to ensure a watertight situation in all entry and exit points, adding that they were empowered to prevent any unauthorised entry or exit of persons and vehicles into the state during the period of the closure.

Wike announced that the state has taken delivery of a 250-bed isolation centre sponsored by the private sector, one GeneXpert RT-PCR testing machine from TOTAL E & P, which would be deployed for testing, and another PCR machine donated by Pamo Hospital.

He regretted that the Federal Government was yet to support the state in the fight against coronavirus. He described as unfortunate the situation where the NCDC was yet to establish a laboratory in the state

He disclosed that the state had rejected the food palliatives offered by the Federal Government because the rice was contaminated and bad for consumption. He alleged that “the rice has expired and we cannot go to Cross River to collect contaminated rice.”

Wike said the state would not accept food palliatives by private sector coalition unless the foodstuffs were purchased from Rivers farmers and fishermen.

He added that the committee for the procurement of foodstuffs has purchased and delivered to the state warehouses local food items including garri, yam, beans, fish, palm oil, plantain, tomatoes and onions worth over 590 million naira.

On the N11 billion allegedly withdrawn from the Federation Account and handed over to the police, Wike said that he has directed the state Attorney General to drag the Federal Government to court

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