Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has announced a total ban of all entries in the state with a closure of all the roads, sea and air routes into Rivers.
Wike, in a statewide broadcast on Wednesday, said his decision was to prevent anyone infected with coronavirus from entering the state.
In announcing a closure of the Port Harcourt airport, Wike said an infected person almost smuggled herself into a Port Harcourt bound aircraft before she was caught by airport security.
His full broadcast reads:
My Dear Good People of Rivers State,
Two days ago, I addressed you on measures we have taken as a State to ensure that coronavirus is prevented from entering our dear State.
In that broadcast, I announced the setting up of Surveillance Posts at our land and sea borders, beginning from Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
I also informed you that after due consultations with Religious Leaders, all forms of open worship including crusades and vigils were banned.
Public Burials and weddings were prohibited, while public parks, night clubs and Cinemas were directed to close down.
You will also recall that I said that we shall continue to review the situation and adjust accordingly .
It is with gratitude to God that I announce to you that our State would have been infected with coronavirus yesterday, but for the vigilance of security agents who, acting on a tip- off prevented an infected person from boarding a flight from Abuja to Port Harcourt.
The infected person beat all security measures that were put in place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and was to sneak into Port Harcourt before security agents stopped her.
Based on this alarming Information, the State Security Council met yesterday and reviewed measures already put in place and decided that there was urgent need to adopt stringent measures to protect those living and doing business in the state from the virus.
The Council has therefore taken the following painful decisions:
1. With effect from 6p.m on Thursday, March 26, 2020 , the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa will not be open to air traffic. While we may not have the right to stop flights from entering Port Harcourt, we cannot allow anybody coming from the airport to enter our State. We are confident that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other federal agencies will cooperate with us.
2. All Land and Sea Borders will be closed.
3. Vehicular movements in an out of the state have been banned.
These measures are to remain in force until further notice.
Let me reiterate that the situation we are facing requires drastic measures because coronavirus has ravaged many countries.
Security Agencies have been empowered to strictly enforce this directive. There will be no room for sacred cows because the virus is no respecter of persons.
May I once again call for the support and understanding of everyone living and doing business in Rivers State to help the relevant Government Agencies implement these measures to check the spread of coronavirus to the state.
At this time in our national life, we must shun primordial sentiments and face the reality on ground.
I am confident that God being on our side, the temporary hardship we are facing today will come to an end very soon.
Thank You and God Bless.