Gov Wike threatens to expel ‘almajiris’ over corona virus



* Announces total lockdown in more areas

* May apply full measure for entire state if spike begins

By Codratus Godson

Gov Nyesom Wike has threatened to expel ‘almajiris’ from Port Harcourt to bring sanity to bear in the state capital. He also announced other stringent measures to stem the spread of the virus that has shown tendency to hit Rivers Stat below the belt.


The action taken by Kano State in deporting vagrants or homeless persons may spread to other states as Rivers State has announced plans to deport those it referred to as vagrants to their states of origin.

The decision was announced at a broadcast by Gov Nyesom Wike Monday, April 27, 2020, while reacting to the confirmation of three new cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The governor also included more areas of the state capital for full lockdown or curfew, threatening to include more places of the entire state if residents do not comply with existing lockdown rules.

Gov Wike directed the state’s Commissioner for Social Welfare to round up and deport all vagrants to their states of origin. He said: “We have also directed the Commissioner of Social Welfare to round-up and deport all vagrants, including the almajiris, to their states of origin to protect our people from the threat they present to the transmission of this pandemic.”

The governor said the administration was poised to give harder fight to the pandemic, saying: “To contain this threat therefore, we will be inaugurating the State’s Taskforce on Border Closure on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 to effectively monitor our boundaries and ensure that no unauthorized person and or vehicle leaves or enters our State under any guise in breach of the lockdown order.”

“We have also widened our case finding and containment strategy by moving from targeted testing to active sentinel search for cases with acute symptoms across various public and private facilities and subject them to immediate testing, isolation and treatment.”

In announcing curfew in some areas, the governor said: “In view of the non or passive compliance with these measures, it has become compelling to also place the following parts of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas on 24 hours complete lockdown, beginning from Tuesday 28 April 2020, till further notice: Elekahia, including the entire stretch of Rumukalagbor-Elekahia link road; Rumuomasi, including Stadium road; and Rumuobiokani.”

He went on: “All residents in these areas must stay at home. All shops, mini-markets, offices and business outfits in these areas must also cease to operate until further notice. Landlords in these areas must take personal responsibility to enforce this lockdown as we will not hesitate to pull down any commercial building or structure that opens to business in violation of this specific directive.”

Gov Wike added: “We are also watching the conduct of residents and traders in Rumuokoro, Rumuokurusiand Oyigbowho are refusing to adhere to the Government’s ban and restrictions on business and social gathering in the State.

“We appeal to the leaders of these communities to enforce the established restrictions or risk the imposition of a total lockdown on their communities.”

Gov Wike berated security agencies for allowing travellers to enter and leave the state at will despite the closure of the state’s borders. “These unscrupulous security officers are deliberately putting our State and the lives of our people at risk as our health system can hardly cope, should there be a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“With these measures, and ceaseless supplications to God, we are confident to win the battle against COVID-19 in our State.”

On the situation report of the virus in the state, the governor said: “As at yesterday, 26th April 2020, Rivers State had six confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2 fully recovered and discharged, two confirmed deaths, while two are active and presently receiving treatment in our isolation and treatment centre at Nchia General Hospital, Eleme.

“The recent positive cases, in spite of the strategic measures we have put in place, are clear evidence of gradual increase in transmission of the virus, which has happened as a result of the actions of those who either chose to breach or sabotage our directives on lockdown and social distancing.

“We consider the emerging trend as not only serious and risky, but also, one that compels us to step-up our strategies and prevent a spike in the transmission of the coronavirus in our State.”

“For this reason, we should all be prepared to go through more stringent measures, including a possible total statewide lockdown, if the situation so compels, in the days and weeks ahead.