Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, has threatened to re-impose lockdown beginning from January as the number of coronavirus cases surge in the State.
A statement released by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, says the governor gave the hint of the imminent second phase of lockdown 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 on Sunday.
He said the refusal of most churches and markets in the State to enforce the compulsory wearing of face masks in adherence to COVID-19 protocol has led to an increase in the number of confirmed cases of the viral disease in recent times.
He said the State government had initially relaxed the restriction on the number of persons who worship in churches, but with the second wave of COVID-19, he will by this week announce new stringent measures to check the spread of COVID-19 cases in the state.
“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.” he said
Governor Wike implored the Bishop of Diocese of Ikwerre to prevail on members of all the churches under his jurisdiction to always wear their face masks.
“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.”he said