The Rivers State Government has reviewed all entry waivers and permits earlier granted to Oil and Gas companies in the state, given the threat they pose to the state, according to the state governor, Nyeso Wike.
Governor Wike says requests for waivers and entry permits from oil and gas companies will now be considered on a case by case basis henceforth.
“All inward-bound vehicles and flights into Rivers State from oil and gas companies with workers for crew change or other essential operations must first submit details of their manifests to the State’s taskforce on COVID-19 for proper vetting of their virus status before they can be allowed to enter the State;
“All operators of chartered flights into Rivers State for oil and gas operations, especially Bristow and Caverton Helicopters, should please comply with this directive and refrain from jeopardizing the lives of our people for the sake of making profits.
Wike said he made the decision considering that the latest of the positive cases, which is the 14th to be recorded in the state, was flown into Port Harcourt by Bristow Helicopters from an offshore oilfield facility in Akwa Ibom State on the 29th of April 2020.
He said the positive cases have confirmed the state’s fears that unvetted entry of Oil and Gas workers from Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere remains a potential source for the importation and spread of COVI/D-19 in our State.
Governor Wike also sternly warned the Chief Medical Director of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital to stop politicalizing the issue of coronavirus in the state with his, “rascally, irresponsible and ill-motivated utterances.
“This Government is focused and therefore will not allow itself to be distracted on its battle against COVID-19. However, we will neither tolerate nor hesitate to deal with anyone who dares to fabricate lies to rubbish the hard work and sacrifice we are making to save the lives in our state just to advance parochial partisan interests.
” I wish to reiterate that the hard choices we have to make as a Government and as a people over the COVID-19 pandemic are all premised on upholding the sanctity of human life.
“As a Government, we cannot abdicate this compelling responsibility and abandon our people to chances in the midst of this much dreaded and ravaging pandemic.”
He said: “We have also observed with disappointment the persistent disobedience to the State Government’s lawful orders and or directives on COVID-19 by a number of communities and residents, especially in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas despite a repeated warning.
“On the whole, we can all see that COVID-19 cases confirmed across the country are growing in numbers, meaning that the situation in our state, although still relatively low, can change for the worse, if we relax our measures or become complacent.