Port Harcourt — Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has granted waivers for free movement of oil and gas workers in the state, among other categories of professionals, following the lock down occasioned by COVID19 pandemic.
Lastweek, when the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, confirmed a corona virus case in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike, had immediately ordered a total closing of the air, land and sea borders and restriction of movements.
The governor had also disclosed that NLNG, Total, Nigerian Gas Company, Oliserv, amongst other firms, had requested the state to relax the measures because of their operations.
He said it was impossible to grant the request, since the protection of human life was more important than any other thing, while assuring of a review of the restrictions.
“After our announcement about border closure, we have received requests from the following companies, Nigeria LNG Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, International Breweries PLC, Oilserve Limited and Nigerian Gas Company to the effect that Government should relax the measures because of their activities.
“Government cannot grant their requests now because the protection of human life is more important than any other thing and we shall do everything necessary to fulfill our obligation in this direction.
“However, we shall review our restrictions concerning their activities when we are fully convinced that it will be reasonable to do so.”
But in a live broadcast on Tuesday, Governor Wike announced waivers to different categories of persons, including oil and gas workers, in view of the directive of the State Government.
The governor said these categories of staff must identify themselves with valid identity cards, while disclosing that security agencies have also been directed to enforce all the decisions taken by the Security Council.
“The waivers cover medical and pharmaceutical personnel, food and beverages, essential oil and gas staff, petroleum products and media workers and newspaper distributors.
“Let me reiterate that this government will continue to do what is right no matter who is involved. As you are all aware, no conventional war has grounded global life and economy like coronavirus has done.
“Everybody is affected. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to defeat coronavirus. I want to sincerely express my heartfelt gratitude to our health professionals on the frontline of this fight. Let me also thank all the security agencies, individuals and organisations who are collaborating with us to make Rivers State safe.
“I am confident that with our collective resolve our dear state will contain the spread of this virus,” Governor Wike said.
The Rivers State Government also imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on some parts of the state, which include Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba and from Education Bus-stop to Agip Junction, following the violation of the market closure order.