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Rivers accuses Abuja group of plotting emergency declaration

• Oil workers constitute 60% of state’s COVID-19 cases, says Wike

The Rivers State Government has alleged that an Abuja group of politicians are plotting to instigate crisis in order to pave way for the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the oil-rich state.

Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said some indigenes of the state who reside in Abuja were behind the plot, alleging that they have not relented in their efforts to declare a state of emergency in the state since 2015.

His words: “The external forces even tried all they could within their powers to ensure that the 2019 governorship election results were not announced, but they failed.

“As the build-up for the 2023 elections and jostle for presidential and vice-presidential tickets is gathering momentum, they want to use COVID-19 to create a crisis as if the state is at war with the Federal Government.

“They have decided to create unnecessary tension as if Ahoada, Eleme and Port Harcourt people are fighting with Northerners not to carry out their legitimate businesses.”

He pointed out that those behind the crisis have forgotten that since 2015, there have been farmers and herdsmen clashes in Nasarrawa, Plateau, Taraba, Ebonyi, Cross River, Kaduna, Yobe and Bornu states.

Nsirim also stated that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Enugu, Lagos, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Edo and Kaduna states have been intercepting lorries carrying human beings instead of foodstuffs to the South East and South-South.

The commissioner also alleged that funds have been set aside to recruit gullible persons to destabilise the state, but he urged patriotic Rivers people of to resist every attempt of those bent on causing mayhem in the state.

Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike has declared that 60 per cent of the 53 COVID-19 cases so far identified in the state were oil workers returning from various rigs, saying the statistics necessitated the state government’s insistence on testing for oil workers coming into the state to ascertain their status.

Governor Wike made the assertion when the management team of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited visited him at Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday, explaining that he was not unmindful of the fact that oil remained the mainstay of the economy.

He commended Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited for its support to the state government in its fight against COVID-19, pointing out that he would always ensure that Rivers people were protected.

Responding, Executive Director of the oil major, Udobong Ntia, commended Wike for measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, particularly the increase in testing.

He noted measures also put in place by the company to fight the virus and donated RNA COVID-19 testing kits and hospital beds to the state government and assured of the company’s commitment to supporting efforts at providing safety and good health to Rivers people.

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