COVID-19: Wike issues warning on fresh state lockdown, places of worship not enforcing face masks
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has threatened to begin a fresh lockdown of the state from January to check the increasing number of coronavirus cases.
A statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said Wike spoke on Sunday 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 Area.
Wike described as worrisome the refusal of most churches and markets in the state to enforce the compulsory wearing of face masks in adherence to COVID-19 protocol.
He said the state government initially relaxed the restriction on the number of persons who worshipped in churches, but with the second wave of COVID-19, he would announce new stringent measures to check the spread of the pandemic.
He said: “When you go to some churches, they don’t wear masks. Go to the market, they don’t wear masks. They believe COVID is not real. It’s not real because it has not happened to you; nobody has 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 the 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.
The governor urged the Peoples Democratic Party leaders in Ikwerre Local Government area to use Mrs Mark’s 90th birthday to work in unison for the development of 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.
Wike, however, urged Nwanosike 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 observed that in an era when people lived below the lifespan of 50 years, it was the mercy of God that made Mrs. Priscilla Mark attain 90 years.
He 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.
Source: The Nation