Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike, has ordered the immediate deportation of almajiris and other street beggars from the state with immediate effect in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The Governor gave the order on Monday in a statewide broadcast on COVID-19.
He said it became necessary to deport the almajiris because of the dimension COVID-19 is beginning to take in the country.
The Governor also announced a 24-hour total lockdown in parts of Obio-Akpor and Port Harcourt city Local Government Areas including; Elakahia, Stadium Road, Rumuomasi and Rumuobiakani, just as he warned residents of Oyigbo, Rumukwurusi and Rumuokoro to stay indoors.
Governor Wike, therefore, said the Rivers State Taskforce will be inaugurated on Tuesday since the Police and other security agencies have failed to protect the borders.
He 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/AkporLocal 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.
“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.
“We are also watching the conduct of residents and traders in Rumuokoro, Rumuokurusi and 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.”
“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.
“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 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.
“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.”