Coronavirus: Wike, ex-lawmaker clash over market closure

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TRACKING___Hon Victoria Nyeche: berates Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike for shutting down markets in the state without making adequate arrangements for residents.

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

A former lawmaker representing Port Harcourt Constituency 1 in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Victoria Nyeche, has berated the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike for shutting down markets in the state without making adequate arrangements for residents.

Hon Victoria Nyeche while briefing some journalists when she donated gift items to 250 orphans and widows from her constituency lamented that palliatives ought to have been provided by the Rivers State Government before the closure of the markets and urged the state government to emulate states like; Lagos and Delta state that provided succour for residents to cushion the effect of the pandemic.

“I don’t think they have done enough by shutting down markets with just one day notice, shutting down market has had enough economic impact”.

She urged the Rivers State Government to emulate the approaches adopted by Lagos and Delta state governments that gave its citizens a long period for them to do their shopping”

She also added that “apart from shutting down the markets, there is a need for us to think of palliatives measures, such as the provision of food and money, because when you shut down the markets and people are asked to stay at home, we will not just be talking about the virus, we will be talking of the hunger which even kills more than the virus” she added.

Nyeche called for a holistic approach to containing the virus.

She said more persons are likely to have contracted the virus in the state and called on the government to carry out more sanitization and improved healthcare for residents.

The former Lawmaker also called corporate organizations to join hands with the government in the provision of social amenities to residents and urged the people to remain calm, shun all traces of fear and apprehension maintain healthy hygiene and believe in God.

Meanwhile, in response, Governor Nyesom Wike responded to apparent response to criticisms to the closure of markets without palliatives, he said: “What we are doing is to protect the lives of our people. Some people may talk about the inconvenience, but you must be alive to talk about food.

“This is the time everyone must make sacrifices. This disease affects the entire population. Whatever measures we bring out is to curtail the spread of this deadly virus.

Governor Wike said that his administration is taking very tough measures because Port Harcourt is a hub that attracts people from across the globe.

He said: “Port Harcourt is a hub where you have the oil companies and the rest of them. We have two seaports. It is a place where people like to come and do business.

“We think that the measures that we have put in place have checkmated the spread of the virus.

“While we pray to God for his intervention, we will continue to do our best to protect our people.”

The Rivers State Governor stated that the State Government will consider palliatives in the next phase of the intervention, noting that the focus, for now, is to check the spread.

“When you talk of palliatives, you are aware that the Federal Government gave Lagos State N10 Billion as support. And so many people in Lagos have also made various donations”.

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