In a move to reduce or stop the spread of the coronavirus to Rivers State, the state government announced on Wednesday that air, sea and land routes to the state will be closed to traffic, starting at 6 pm, Thursday, 26 March 2020.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said in a broadcast on Wednesday that the move has become necessary in light of recent developments.
He said: “It is with gratitude to God that I announce to you that our state would have been infected with coronavirus yesterday, but by the surveillance of security agents who, acting on a tip, prevented an infected person from boarding a flight from Abuja to Port Harcourt.
“The infected person overcame all security measures that were adopted at Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abuja and Abuja International Airport and should sneak into Port Harcourt before security officers stop him.
“Based on this alarming information, the State Security Council met yesterday and reviewed the measures already in place and decided that there was an urgent need to take strict measures to protect those who live and do business in the state against the virus.”
According to Governor Wike, the council decided that as of 6 pm on Thursday, March 26, 2020, Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa will not be open to air traffic.
“While we may not have the right to prevent flights from entering Port Harcourt, we cannot allow anyone coming from the airport to enter our state. We are confident that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other federal agencies will cooperate with us, ”said Wike.
The governor also emphasized that all land and sea borders will be closed.
He also said that vehicle movements to a state outside Rivers were prohibited. Adding that no vehicle will leave the state for any other state and no vehicle may enter the state.
Governor Wike said the new measures will be adopted until further notice.
He noted: “Let me reiterate that the situation we are facing requires drastic measures because the coronavirus has devastated many countries.
“Security agencies have been authorized to strictly apply this directive. There will be no space for sacred cows because the virus is no respecter of people.
“Once again, I ask for the support and understanding of everyone living and doing business in Rivers State to help relevant government agencies implement these measures to check the spread of coronavirus to the state.”
The state governor added: “At this point in our national life, we must avoid primordial feelings and face reality on the ground.
“I am confident that God is on our side, the temporary difficulties we are facing today will end very soon.”
Governor Wike reported on previous measures taken by the Rivers state government to combat the coronavirus, emphasizing that they were still in effect.
He said: “In this broadcast, I announced the creation of surveillance posts on our land and sea borders, starting on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
“I also reported that, after consultation with religious leaders, all forms of open worship, including crusades and vigils, were prohibited.
“Public burials and weddings were prohibited, while public parks, nightclubs and cinemas were forced to close.”