The Government of Rivers, on Sunday, in Port Harcourt, has warned that it may re-impose lockdown in January to contain the new surge in Coronavirus cases in the State.
Gov. Nyesom Wike handed the warning at a thanksgiving service in celebration of the 90th birthday of Mrs. Priscilla Mark, at the St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa.
The governor expressed his worry over the refusal of most churches and markets to enforce the wearing of face masks as required as a COVID-19 protocol in Rivers.
He said that although the State government had initially relaxed the restriction on the number of persons who worshipped in churches, new measures would be announced to curb the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 in Rivers.
“When you go to some churches, they don’t wear mask. Go to market, they don’t wear mask. They believe COVID is not real.
“It is not real because it has not happened to you; nobody had died whom you know. When somebody has died and the person was close to you, you will know that COVID is real.
“So, it is real and I want to appeal to all of you that we have to be stricter now because the second wave is more dangerous than the first wave. It’s very, very dangerous. I know how many people we have lost since the second wave started”, the governor said.
Gov. Wike implored the Bishop, Diocese of Ikwerre to prevail on members of all the churches under his jurisdiction to always wear their face mask.
“If you don’t comply, I have no choice, but to shut down the churches; Pentecostal, Catholic, Anglican. I have no choice because when you have it, who spends the money? It is the state that treats.
“So, we need to use the money for some other things, but not for this. Let us discipline ourselves and know that COVID is real. Let nobody tell you that there is nothing like COVID. It’s real.”
The governor urged PDP leaders in Ikwerre Local government area to use Mrs. Mark’s 90th birthday to work in unison for the development of the area, and in particular for the chairman of Ikwerre local government, Samuel Nwanosike to respect party leaders and ensure that all stakeholders worked in unison to move the State forward.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, announced a donation of N50 million to the church.
Delivering a sermon titled “Thanking God for His Mercy” the Bishop, Diocese of Ikwerre, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Blessing Enyindah, stressed the need for people to always acknowledge God’s mercies in their lives.
Bishop Enyindah, who observed that in an era where people lived below 50 years, said it was God’s mercy that made Mrs. Priscilla Mark to attain 90 years of age.
He admonished people to inculcate the habit of healthy living and commit their lives unto God in order to attain 90 years on earth.