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22 oil workers arrested for flouting Wike’s executive order

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Twenty-two employees of Exxon Mobil, who entered Rivers State from Akwa Ibom State in violation of the executive order restricting movement into the state, have been arrested.

Governor Nyesom Wike, who disclosed the arrest of the oil workers, said they would be arraigned and the matter would be a test case in legal jurisprudence in the country. 

“Security agencies arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who came into the state from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State in violation of the extant Executive Order restricting movement into the state. We do not know the Coronavirus status of these individuals.
 


“Even though security agencies advised that they are allowed to go back to Akwa Ibom State, I insisted that the law must take its course. This is because nobody is above the law.
 
“As a responsive government, we have quarantined them in line with the relevant health protocols and they will be charged to court.”

Wike said it was regrettable that the federal authorities were working dangerously to compromise the health protection system of Rivers State, thereby making it vulnerable to Coronavirus, adding: “Some people want the escalation of the virus in Rivers State. People were paid to canvass a negative narrative on Carveton pilots.

“We are doing what we can within available resources to fight Coronavirus. You can fly, but as you fly and land, don’t enter our territory.
 
“We will fight this matter legally. Exxon Mobil does not operate in Rivers State. That they have a point at the Onne Seaport does not mean that they operate in Rivers State.

“People in Abuja are not happy; they want Rivers State to be infected. They want to kill Rivers people and I will not allow it. I was elected to protect Rivers people. Rivers State is not a pariah state.

“Nigerians shake when they hear oil companies; they shake because they have compromised. Imagine an appointed minister issuing an order to an elected governor. They wanted to rig us out and lost.”

The governor noted that some unnamed persons want the virus to escalate in Rivers State, insisting that the oil workers must be prosecuted because people selling Akara are being charged to court in Lagos, but some people want the government to allow oil companies to flout the state executive order. 

He said Rivers State couldn’t be manipulated and used as a toy, noting that the state government followed due process in its actions against Carveton Helicopters and was focused on implementing extant laws aimed at protecting Rivers people. 

The governor stated that the state government did establish the right legal framework to assist it effectively fight against the spread of the virus, even as thanked God that the second case in the state has been discharged, commending the management of the NLNG for cooperating with the state to fight the spread of the disease.

Wike expressed gratitude to individuals and corporate organisations that have strengthened the state’s capacity to fight the virus, disclosing that his administration has developed a comprehensive palliatives scheme to support less privileged Rivers people survive the sit-at-home directive. 

“So far, the Palliatives Committee has distributed foodstuffs to Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Ikwerre and Eleme Local Government Areas and foodstuffs to special homes in Port Harcourt.”

He, however, announced the suspension of the ongoing distribution of palliatives due to complaints by some members of the public, saying it was imperative that all companies or organisations doing full or partial business in the state support efforts at containing the virus. 

“Failure to support us shows total disregard for corporate social responsibility. I want to sincerely thank all individual and corporate donors who have supported us in the fight against COVID-19. At the appropriate time, the government will publish their names in national dailies and local tabloids for posterity. 

“These individuals and corporate organisations are indeed friends of the state,” he said.

Wike said his administration chose to be proactive because it places premium on the lives of Rivers people, warning that those plotting to disrupt the distribution of palliatives would be sanctioned. 


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