Governor Wike, What’s Happening In Rivers State?

May 16, 2020

Have you ever been so scared for someone’s conscience, intercessory prayer starts hungrying you?

Since May 7th, my recurring prayer point and the universal leader Governor of Rivers State – Nyesom Wike has seized and auctioned off over 20 civilian cars, convicted over 170 people and demolished 2 hotel buildings in his state. These were carried out in furtherance of the strict statewide coronavirus lockdown imposed in Rivers State. Never mind that many rely on daily trade to survive, and inadequate provisions were made for the extended lockdown period.

While we are no closer to understanding why Governor Wike is working so hard to snatch the Villain of the Year 2020 award from the coronavirus, we can attempt to piece things together by examining his actions of the past week:

The local government closures

As one of the safety measures to be implemented for the Rivers State lockdown, Governor Wike ordered the closure of the Port Harcourt/Obior Akor local government areas of the state. These local government areas house the highest population of people and trade within the state. 

What this means is ⁠— while the rest of the country and most of the world are attempting to re-open their economies following weeks of lockdown, the traders in the most business heavy districts of Rivers State have more days of financial insecurity ahead of them, as they largely rely on daily sales for sustenance.

170 people convicted for breaking the lockdown restrictions

When people are willing to brave the threat of a deadly virus (for reasons beyond haircut rights), it definitely begs the question of what could possibly scare them more. The answer? Hunger.

Rather than empathise with a people who spent the better parts of five weeks cooped up at home, their livelihoods most likely affected by the mere mention of a further lock down, Governor Wike instead chose to arrest them.

With the help of the Special mobile court, 170 persons were on May 7th arrested in Rivers State and convicted of the offence of breaching the mandated lockdown, they were also made to pay fines of up to ₦50,000.

Rivers State auctioned their cars off too!

As if staring a sure recession in the face isn’t bad enough, imagine doing so minus the convenience of your trusty car. Can you imagine having to buy a car in this economy?

Maybe Governor Wike’s imagination isn’t working this month, because in further punishment for flouting the lockdown rules, the governor ordered that 20 cars used in transporting violators be auctioned off. He really went through with it too.

Governor Wike demolished two hotels for violating lockdown rules

Show me a less commensurate punishment for an offence this May and I’ll eat that nasty sushi you all pretend to like.

For violating the lockdown restrictions barring hotels from operating without the government’s say so, Governor Wike did the very rational thing of demolishing two structures – Edemete Hotel and Prodest Hotels. In true sociopathic fashion, he made a personal appearance during their respective destructions. 

Nigeria is currently grappling with an isolation centre shortage btw. Just wanted everyone to remember that.

So let’s see. We have a poorly planned, very strict lockdown imposed following weeks of nationwide restrictions. Punishment meted out to Nigerians abandoned to their devices for sustenance in the midst of a pandemic. Further impoverishing citizens by taking away their vehicles and auctioning them off in the face of a could-be depression and the no-other-way-to-put-it, but manic destruction of hotel buildings, all in Rivers State.

As it is, rather than fulfill campaign promises, Gov. Wike is working hard to make sure he remains the reason many Rivers natives are looking to the sky, muttering ‘do fast and come down’. We are now past the point of asking what’s happening in Rivers State, we need to know who’s going to stop it.

Boyin Plumptre

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