The Rivers State Government has banned open air worship. weddings and burials as the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus intensifies.
Also shutdown are cinemas, public parks and nightclubs.
Governor Nyesom Wike who handed down the order on Monday said the move was consistent with his administration’s plan to protect law abiding citizens.
He said the order which would take effect from today, Tuesday, the 24th of March, 2020, would remain in place until further notice.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in a statewide broadcast directed religious groups to halt all forms of open worship.
The governor declared: “with effect from the same date (Tuesday, March 24, 2020), all public parks, night clubs and cinemas in the State are to remain closed.”
He also disclosed that after due consultations with religious leaders, “it was agreed that all religious organisations are to temporarily stop all forms of open worship.”
“Public burial and wedding ceremonies are also banned within this period”, the governor stressed.
“In view of the fact that the disease spreads fast through body contact”, Wike acknowledged, “social distance has become imperative if we are to contain the spread.
“May I, therefore call on all Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers and Opinion Leaders in the State to assist government to implement these decisions by ensuring that persons under their care do not fall foul of this directive. ”
Governor Wike directed Local Government Council Chairmen to ensure that public burials and weddings do not take place in their respective areas.
He said: “May I emphasise that Local Government Chairmen are to be held responsible if public burials and weddings take place in their Local Government Areas.
“Government will set up monitoring teams for the 23 Local Government Areas to ensure compliance. Defaulters will be seen as enemies of the State and will be made to face appropriate sanctions.
“My Dear Good People of Rivers State, the essence of governance is to protect lives and we cannot be indifferent when this COVID-19 continues to claim lives world-wide.
“We urge everyone to remain calm and maintain social distance. We shall continue to review the situation and adjust accordingly.
“Like I said in my Broadcast last Friday, these decisions may seem painful for all of us but there is no price that is too much to pay for us to stay alive”.
The Rivers State Governor stated with effect from Tuesday, March 24, 2020, surveillance posts will be set up across the state.
“The Rivers State Government having reviewed current developments across the country is desirous to further strengthen prevention measures across the State to keep our citizens safe.
“To this end, with effect from tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 , Surveillance Posts are to be set up at the following Borders of the State:
(1) Emohua for motorists coming from Bayelsa and States
(2) Omerelu for motorists coming from Owerri
(3) Okehi for motorists coming from Imo State through Etche
(4) Akwuzie in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area for motorists coming from Imo State
(5)Oyigbo Toll Gate for motorists coming from Aba and
(6)Opoku in Khana Local Government Area for motorists coming from Akwa Ibom State.
“Marine entry points: Port Harcourt and Onne Ports , Nembe, Bille,Bonny and NLNG Jetties are also going to be under surveillance. Each of the Surveillance Posts shall be manned by trained health and security personnel who will ensure that motorists and seafarers are tested before they are allowed to enter the State.
“All motorists and seafarers are please enjoined to cooperate with the Surveillance teams as they have been empowered to legitimately enforce this directive,” Governor Wike said.
The Governor added: “I use this medium to call on citizens to minimise family visits. Rather, everyone should maintain contacts through the use of telephones”.
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