Rivers Governor, Nyesome Wike, has said he will re-impose statewide lockdown starting from January, next year, as the number of Coronavirus cases surge in the state.
The governor gave hint of imminent second phase of lockdown amid rising cases of COVID-19 during the thanksgiving church service in celebration of the 90th birthday of Mrs. Priscilla Nwanediye Mark, at the St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government, Sunday.
Wike who lamented the refusal of most churches and open markets to enforce compulsory wearing of face mask in adherence to COVID-19 protocol, said the State Government had initially relaxed the restriction on the number of persons permitted inside worship centres, but with the second wave of COVID-19, the governor disclosed that he will, by this week, announce new stringent measures to check the spread of the virus in Rivers.
“When you go to some churches, they don’t wear mask. Go to market, they don’t wear 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.”
Wike implored 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 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 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, even as he urged the council boss to respect party leaders and ensure that all stakeholders work in unison to move the State forward.
The governor who was accompanied by the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, announced a donation of N50 million to the church.
Delivering a sermon titled; “Thanking God for His Mercy,” 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.
Bishop Enyindah who observed that this is an era where people lived below the lifespan of 50 years, said it was the mercy of God that made Mrs. Priscilla Mark attain 90 years, as he further admonished people to inculcate the habit of living a healthy lifestyle and commit their lives unto God to be able to live up-to 90 years.