*Nobody is above the law, my government isn’t discriminatory – Wike
River State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Sunday ordered the demolision of two hotels in Rivers state for alleged breach of the state’s Executive Orders to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The destruction, came following Saturday’s notice issued to Prudent Hotel, Alode, and Etemeteh Hotel, Onne, both in Eleme Local Government Area.
According to Wike, “Government has no alternative but to apply the Executive Order I signed before the lockdown of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt. I told all Traditional Rulers and Council Chairmen to ensure no hotel operates in the state.
“We are not saying it will be forever.
“This is to reduce the cases and check the spread. Whether you are PDP or not, all we are saying is nobody is above the law. If we can do this to a PDP person, you know we are not discriminatory.
“We said if any hotel operates, Government will bring it down. We are doing what we told people we were going to do. Unfortunately, the PDP Youth Leader in Eleme joined others to flout the Executive Order. Look at the rate of infections, most of these people are found in hotels.
“The infected man that died was at Mingi Hotel in Rumumasi. Due to that contact, we have had other seven cases. People should help support Government for Rivers people to be safe. Security Council will meet to review strategies and achievements or setbacks, moving forward. All we are doing is to protect our people.”
“People talk about hunger, but only the living can discuss hunger. We will continue to work to protect our people. What we are doing is to tell the people that the State Government is serious to ensure we defeat coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, the development has attracted anger and condemnation among stakeholders in the state.
On the Governor’s declaration that Managing Director of the affected hotel at Onne has been arrested to face prosecution, Ms Emem Okon, women’s rights advocate, responded,
“What prosecution is he (Wike) talking about after the hotels are demolished? They have been punished before trial, no right to fair hearing.”
Dae Deegbara, on faith of Bariledum Azoroh (PHD), Managing Director at Prudent Hotel, Eleme, said, “For no fault of his, the hotel was not actually in full operation before the demolition.
Azoroh’s condition and whereabouts remains unknown, living his wife with no source to take care of herself and newborn baby.
“In what appears to be an internal Eleme LGA PDP and youth leadership crisis, it shouldn’t have ordinarily rubbed an innocent business owner and orphan, the manager into this sad situation.”
Sebastian Kpalab, Coordinator, Citizens Voice Initiative, said, “This is insane and draconian. This does not promote containment of the Coronavirus. It has taken away family and individual livelihoods, increased shrinking Rivers economy. It smacks fatal remedy for a sick situation.” Dumnamene Fyneface, another rights activists said,
“At best, the Governor would have sealed the hotels, use them as isolation centres or office for Local Government Task Force on COVID-19 in Eleme or impose fines on them for whatever perceived default.
“The Governor and government of Rivers should the harsh measures against citizens in the fight against COVID-19 and rebuilt the demolished hotels, pay adequate compensation and apologize to their respective owners.”