Gov Wike happy with churches on compliance


* But APC chieftain says virus has exposed the state govet on health

By Codratus Godson

Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has expressed appreciation to the Christian faithful across the state for complying with the directive of maintaining social distance during the first Sunday after the order on church service to check the spread of coronavirus.

Addressing journalists after he led the Task Force on enforcement of the ban on public and religious gatherings to monitor compliance on Sunday,  Gov Wike said that the churches ensured that each service had about 50 worshippers as agreed during the meeting at Government House,  Port Harcourt.

Governor Wike, accompanied by the Service Commanders, monitored compliance at the Saint Thomas Anglican Church, Mile Two Diobu,  Saint John’s Anglican Church, Rumueme Deanery, Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Rumuepirikom Deanery, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Rumuapara District, Abundant Life Evangel Mission Cathedral. All of these were in the city, though the local councils are to monitor at local levels.

They also monitored  compliance at the Saint Andrews Anglican Church, Rumuobiokani, Saint Michael’s Anglican Church, Rumuomasi Deanery, the Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim, Mount of Grace, Elekahia, Saint Barnabas Anglican Church, Elekahia Archdeaconry, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Diobu.

The team moved through  Corpus Christi,  Port Harcourt,  Living Faith Church,  Kaduna Street, D-Line and Churches on Aggrey Road in Port Harcourt. All the churches visited had running water, soap and hand sanitizers to disinfect worshipers before and after service.

Governor Wike said:  “The compliance is very much appreciated, except for two churches that did not completely comply; Saint Thomas Anglican Church and Holy Trinity Rumuapara.” BusinessDay also gathered that the team stormed at church at Elimgbu area near Rumukwurushe, but the governor said he had told the implicated churches not to tempt him into shutting them down.

He went on: “In all, we are satisfied with the total compliance.  That shows that the people appreciate what we are talking about. For us, the safety of our people remains key. We are happy today.”

Meanwhile, a critic, media consultant and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, does not seem to be impressed by all that the state government has done.

Eze said Wike’s actions were full of orders and bans without a single palliative or help to the people. He questioned the absence of salaries to workers, palliatives, test kits, etc. He called for donation of salaries of Wike and his aides to show example.

Eze said: “The state does not have any Covid-19 test centre and most sadly, without any organized or strategic framework to enable residents who are symptomatic or asymptomatic or those who are reasonably suspicious of coming in contact with any case or suspected case to present themselves for test. Nonetheless, the governor hurriedly embarked upon a complete lockdown without any consideration for the above factors and this simply portrays him as grossly flippant in the administration and welfare of the good people of Rivers State.”

Saying he supported stay at home order, Eze opined that it is grossly irrational and conspicuously suicidal for Gov. Wike to order closure of markets and other places of bazaar without first putting into consideration the effects of the implementation of such directive on the citizens especially, the poor of society.