The Rivers Government Monday put out a set of new guidelines which would govern the operations of oil companies operating in the State.
Governor Nyesom Wike who addressed the State noted that it has become pertinent at this time to roll out a new set of rules, given the high risk that oil exploration activities might pose to the lives of Rivers people.
The Government explained that the latest of “these positive cases” is the “14th case that was flown in to Port Harcourt by Bristow Helicopters from an offshore oilfield facility in Akwa Ibom State on the 29th of April 2020.”
It stressed that “these positive cases have shown and confirmed our fears that unvetted entry of Oil and Gas workers from Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere remains a potential source for the importation and spread of COVI/D-19 in our State.”
The State Chief Executive hinted that after his government’s review of existing protocols relating to oil company operations, three additional measures have been put in place.
According to him, “from now on, requests for waivers and entry permits from oil and gas companies will be considered on a case by case basis;
“all inward-bound vehicles and flights into Rivers State from oil and gas companies with workers for crew change or other essential operations must first submit details of their manifests to the State’s taskforce on COVID-19 for proper vetting of their virus status before they can be allowed to enter the State;
“all operators of chartered flights into Rivers State for oil and gas operations, especially Bristow and Caverton Helicopters, should please comply with this directive and refrain from jeopardizing the lives of our people for the sake of making profits.”
Wike expressed concern over the spiralling cases of the virus, saying that it was for that reason, the State would not be lowering its guard.
“On the whole, we can all see that COVID-19 cases confirmed across the country are growing in numbers, meaning that the situation in our State, although still relatively low, can change for the worse, if we relax our measures or become complacent.
“In view of the foregoing, Government has resolved to impose additional measures by the Executive Order, I have just signed, which are targeted at reinforcing our efforts toward stopping the spread of the virus in the State”, Wike emphasized.
While insisting that all residents must wear face masks in public and moving vehicles, the governor announced the prohibition of all private motor parks, taxi ranks and loading bays throughout the State.
“No commercial taxi driver should carry more than three passengers in his vehicle per trip;
“No commercial bus driver should carry more than 40 per cent of the full capacity of his vehicle;
“All tricycles (Keke NAPEP) must limit their passengers to two persons only;
“No private vehicle should carry more than three persons in the car”, Governor Wike reiterated.
He repeated that the use of sanitizers is absolutely necessary, and urged drivers as well as other commuters to exhibit the highest level of hygiene.
The Governor disclosed that a taskforce has been set up to arrest and prosecute persons without face masks seen either on the road or inside vehicles.
He warned that commercial vehicles and buildings used as hotels and guesthouses which are impounded from law breakers would be auctioned. The governor added that hoteliers must provide the government with information pertaining to their guests.