Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Government has closed all schools in the state and directed all religious organisations to restrict their activities as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statewide broadcast on Friday, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said that the action was taken in the interest of Rivers State.
The closure affects public and private Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions.
He said: “Based on the above precautionary measures, the State can be described to be at an alert state. To further strengthen our resolve to protect our citizens, the State Government has taken the following decisions:
“1. All Schools in the State are to be closed down with effect from Monday, March 23, 2020.
2. All Religious Organisations are to restrict their activities.”
Governor Wike said that his administration took the decision with a deep sense of responsibility.
He said: “As you are aware, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described coronavirus as a global pandemic. This development calls for collective action by all well-meaning citizens.
“As a responsive government, even though we have not had a confirmed case of coronavirus, we did not rest on our oars as we set-up a Five-man Inter-ministerial committee to carry out an aggressive public enlightenment that will protect all those living and doing business in the State from the disease.
“This decision was taken because we understand that we are the headquarters of the Hydrocarbon Industry and also a major commercial hub in the country that attracts people from all walks of life.”
The Rivers State Governor noted that with actions taken, the State is alert to address any situation.
“The committee had since its inauguration carried out Stakeholder Engagement with Community Development Committees, Religious Groups, Principals and Head teachers of schools, Traders Association, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Military, Paramilitary, Police, International Oil Companies and The Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON).
“In addition to this, radio and television jingles, flyers and billboards have been fully utilised by the committee to pass the prevention message to all the nooks and crannies of the State.”
The Governor added: “The State Ministry of Health has also been empowered to set up intervention resources:
“i. 158 Surveillance and Ad-hoc personnel have been trained.
“ii. One Treatment Centre, Holding Centers in the Two Teaching Hospitals and all General Hospitals in the State are fully functional.
“iii. All Health Workers, both private and public have been trained and briefed on Infection Control Measures and appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Hand Sanitizers have been procured, Infrared thermometers have been procured and Stockpiling of other commodities and equipment and we have redoubled surveillance at our Airports, Seaports, Waterways and Land routes.”
Governor Wike pleads for the understanding of Rivers people.
He said: “My dear good people of Rivers State, as painful as these decisions may seem, it is a sacrifice we must make to protect ourselves in the face of recent developments.
“Let me assure all those resident in the State, that the State Government under my leadership is ready and willing to protect their lives at all times.
“May I therefore call for the understanding and collective support of all and sundry to keep our State safe from coronavirus.
Together, we shall win with God on our side.”