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Rivers’ fight against coronavirus and childish comparisons

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Many who have watched closely Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike’s fight against coronavirus on behalf of Rivers people have commended him for a good job done. It has been firm, decisive and basically in the interest of Rivers’ people.  

This is a war against an invisible and deadly enemy that is claiming lives every day. However, every decisive step taken by Governor Wike leads to unnecessary loud voices of protest from propaganda merchants.

Three days ago, Rivers State Governor, Wike took the decisive step of demolishing two hotels that deliberately flouted Executive Order closing down all hotels across the state. At Prudest Hotel, the wanted PDP Youth Leader and a gang of thugs, inflicted heavy injuries on the Task Force members who were at the facility to stop it from operating. 

Several members of the Task Force that went to enforce the Executive Order are lying critical ill at the hospital. But many expect the Rivers State governor to look the other way because the youth leader is a member of PDP.  

The fundamental aim of closing all hotels across Rivers State is to ensure those being allowed by the security agencies to illegally enter Rivers State have nowhere to stay. These hotels, for whatever reason, flouted the order and did so violently. 

If the Rivers State governor had swept this matter under the carpet, what will be his moral standing when members of other political parties recklessly flout the law? 

It is unfortunate that this is an era where people write and then think later. That is the reason the entire nation was hoodwinked by a horrible propaganda in 2015. Those attacking Governor Wike are the sound proponents of this national failure. 

All stakeholders are involved 
The strategy to check the spread of coronavirus involves all stakeholders in Rivers State. The main goal is preventing the spread of coronavirus. While inaugurating the Rivers State COVID-19 Local Governments Task Force at the Government House, Port Harcourt on May 7, 2020, Wike charged them to identify erring hotels and beer parlours. 

He said: “From tomorrow, move in. Any hotel that is operating, identify it and we will bring down the hotels. I have the political will. Those people who disobey will face the consequences.”

Governor Wike said that the task force must be decisive to ensure that coronavirus is not accommodated in Rivers State. The governor said the task force must take it that they are being drafted to fight an invisible enemy and their duty is to defend the state.

For days, Governor Wike has been creating awareness on the Executive Order and the consequences of flouting it. Yet, a member of PDP did not only flout the order, he also attacked and injured operatives of the Task Force that came to enforce the law. 

Examples elsewhere
ON April 23, 2020, Lagos State government demolished over 40 residential buildings in the Ogba area of the state amid the coronavirus lockdown. These demolitions attracted no media attention because it happened in Legos. Those affected cried out, but no meaningful response from the civil society. After all, it was Lagos; it has the power to do and undo.

On March 7, 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic raged, authorities of the Federal Capital Territory demolished structures and mechanic workshops at premises in Kado Estate in Abuja.

Because APC controls the media, a few whispers were made here and there, but there was no serious protest 
In May 2019, the FCT administration also demolished the popular Caramelo Strip club.FCDA, through its Department of Development Control (DDC), demolished Caramelo Lounge, a popular strip club, for allegedly contravening the FCT land use regulations. This was disclosed by the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) Coordinator, Umar Shuaibu, while briefing newsmen on the exercise on Monday in Abuja. The FCT regulations were respected by the media because it was drawn by the propaganda merchants of the APC.

In January,  2017, Jigawa State Government demolished places of worship affected in a general demolition of houses. The Jigawa State Government said the demolition of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), and Lord Chosen Church in Dutse was carried out because the churches were not approved by the state government. In January 2020, Kwara State Government demolished the late Olusola Saraki’s home in Ilorin.

Even the immediate past Senate President could not stop the demolition. Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State announced the decision to revoke the late Olusola Saraki’s property owing to alleged illegality in its acquisition. Till date the Saraki family has lost that property.

In May 2020, during the lockdown, Kaduna State Government demolished a popular beer joint located opposite Command Secondary School in Kaduna South Local Government Area. Recall the 2018 demolition of a building located in the heart of Kaduna city, belonging to a leader of one of the two APC factions, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi by the state government.

In November 2019, the Kaduna State Government through KASUPA demolished about 300 houses in different communities. The affected communities are Baban Saura, Anguwan Waziri, Karji, Tsohon Kamanz and Angwan Maigyero all located along Yakowa Road, Kaduna.

Right in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the need arose for Delta State Government to demolish Abraka Market. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa threatened to deal ruthlessly with anyone caught doing business at the demolished Abraka market.

Governor Okowa was at the market last weekend. He said the market was demolished due to illegal and illicit businesses being carried out in the market as some unscrupulous elements had turned it to a criminal den.

In the case of Eleme hotels’ demolition, it was backed by an extant law and also supported by stakeholder engagement. Governor Wike has explained the background that led to the demolition. He did this in a statewide broadcast. 

He said: “We acted against the hotelier because, apart from using the facility to jeopardize the lives of our citizens in violation of the extant law, the owner audaciously unleashed thugs, led by the Eleme Local Government Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party and inflicted severe injuries on our task-force members who went to enforce the law against the continued operation of the hotel.
 
“As we speak, nobody knows the fate of the lives of most of the victims of that brazen and deadly attack given the severity of the head injuries they sustained.”


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