As the battle of wits between the Rivers State Government and the Federal Government deepens, Governor Nyesom Wike has lost control of the entry and departure of vehicles conveying agricultural produce.
Henceforth, that responsibility would be exercised by the Nigeria Police Force.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier said while announcing the lockdown of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun that vehicles conveying foodstuff, diary products and medicines were free to move across the country in order to ensure that the people do not suffer as a result of government measures put in place to combat COVID 19.
But in Rivers State, the Government acting on the strength of Executive order 006 barred all movements in and out of Rivers State.
That measure which has seen the Rivers State Government intercepting persons who are permitted by a presidential decree to operate within the period of the lockdown, including those within the oil industry has been a source of conflict.
The Nigerian Constitution notes that where both the Federal and State governments make laws or pronouncements on a specific subject matter, that made by the Federal Government supercedes.
Comparatively, that has not been the case within Rivers boundaries where Governor Wike insists the executive order made by the State empowers him to fight against the virus in a definitive way.
With the latest order issued by Abuja, Wike has no policemen to enforce his no entry, no exit order.
It is doubtful that the army and Civil Defense would be able to help him in this regard.
It is not Governor Wike who commands them. It is the Commander-in-Chief.
So, for the first time in Wike’s administration, the enormity of the power of the Federal Government is becoming manifest.
The new Commissioner of Police in the State is now to have absolute control of the process of clearing who enters Rivers State and who leaves.
They say what comes around, goes around.
In the second tenure of Governor Wike, he is gradually beginning to see what Governor Rotimi Amaechi suffered in the dying days of his administration.
Although no one prays for Mukan to act like CP Mbu, Mbu even went to the extent of denying Governor Amaechi access to Government House through Forces Avenue.
This was allegedly done with the prodding of the Minister of State of Education at the time and President Goodluck Jonathan as he then was. So far, some Rivers chiefs have raised their voices over the take over of certain security issues under Wike’s belt, especially the control of vehicular movements related to the delivery of foodstuff and medicines.