Rivers State Government has closed all schools in the state and directed all religious organisations to restrict their activities as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.
State Governor, Nyesom Wike, announced the closure in a statewide broadcast, saying that the action was taken in the interest of the state.
The closure will take effect from Monday, March 23. It affects public and private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the state.
He said: “Based on the above precautionary measures, the state can be described to be at an alert state”.
Governor Wike said that his administration took the decision with a deep sense of responsibility.
He said: “As you are aware, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described coronavirus as a global pandemic. This development calls for collective action by all well-meaning citizens.
“As a responsive government, even though we have not had a confirmed case of coronavirus, we do not rest on our oars as we set-up a five-man Inter-ministerial committee to carry out an aggressive public enlightenment that will protect all those living and doing business in the state from the disease.
“This decision was taken because we understand that we are the headquarters of the hydrocarbon industry and also a major commercial hub in the country that attracts people from all walks of life”, he stated.
The governor noted that with actions taken, the state is alert to address any situation.
“The committee had since its inauguration carried out stakeholder engagement with community development committees, religious groups, principals and head teachers of schools, traders’ association, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), military, paramilitary, police, international oil companies and The Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON).
“In addition to this, radio and television jingles, flyers and billboards have been fully utilised by the committee to pass the prevention message to all the nooks and crannies of the State.”
He added: “The state Ministry of Health has also been empowered to set up intervention resources.158 surveillance and ad-hoc personnel have been trained.
The governor added that treatment centres have been provided at the two teaching hospitals and general hospitals in the state.
According to him, the state government has redoubled surveillance at the airports, seaports, waterways and land routes.
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Governor Wike pleaded for the understanding of Rivers people.
He said: “My dear good people of Rivers State, as painful as these decisions may seem, it is a sacrifice we must make to protect ourselves in the face of recent developments.
“Let me assure all those resident in the state, that the state government under my leadership is ready and willing to protect their lives at all times.
“May I, therefore, call for the understanding and collective support of all and sundry to keep our state safe from coronavirus. Together, we shall win with God on our side,” Wike appealed.
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