Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has hinted that he would re-impose COVID-19 lockdown in the state beginning from January following the recent upsurge in the number of coronavirus cases in the State.
Wike according to a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, gave a hint of the imminent second phase of lockdown amid rising cases of COVID-19 during the church thanksgiving service in celebration of the 90th birthday of Mrs Priscilla Nwanediye Mark, at the St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government on Sunday.
Wike regretted the refusal of most churches and markets in the state to enforce the compulsory wearing of face mask in adherence to COVID-19 protocol, noting that the state government had initially relaxed the restriction on the number of persons who worship in churches which have often been violated.
He noted that with the second wave of COVID-19, he would this week announce new stringent measures to check the spread of COVID-19 cases in the State,
He said: “When you go to some churches, they don’t wear a mask. Go to market, they don’t wear a mask. They believe COVID is not real. It’s not real because it has not happened to you; nobody had died whom you know. When somebody has died and the person was close to you, you will know that COVID is real.
“So, it is real and I want to appeal to all of you that we have to be more strict now because the second wave is more dangerous than the first wave. It’s very, very dangerous. I know how many people we have lost since the second wave started.”
Governor Wike urged the Bishop of Diocese of Ikwerre to prevail on members of all the churches under his jurisdiction to always wear their face mask.
“If you don’t comply, I have no choice, but to shut down the churches; Pentecostal, Catholic, Anglican. I have no choice because when you have it, who spends the money? It is the state that treats. So, we need to use the money for some other things, but not for this. Let us discipline ourselves and know that COVID-19 is real. Let nobody tell you that there is nothing like COVID. It’s real.”
The governor urged Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, leaders in Ikwerre Local government area to use Mrs Mark’s 90th birthday to work in unison for the development to the area.
He also used the occasion to extol the chairman of Ikwerre local government, Samuel Nwanosike for his commitment to the development of the area.
Meanwhile, the Bishop, Diocese of Ikwerre, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Right Reverend Blessing Enyindah, stressed the need for people to always acknowledge God’s mercies in their lives.
Enyindah in his sermon titled “Thanking God for His Mercy”, observed that this was an era where people lived below the lifespan of 50 years, said it was the mercy of God that made Mrs Priscilla Mark attained 90 years.