Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, has accused the federal government of attempting to infect and kill residents of the state with COVID-19.
Addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Friday, Wike alleged that federal authorities are working to compromise the health protection system of the state and make it vulnerable to coronavirus.
The governor said his administration has established the right legal framework to assist in fighting against the spread of the disease.
“Some people want the escalation of the virus in Rivers State. People were paid to canvass a negative narrative on Carveton Pilots,” Wike said.
“We are doing what we can within available resources to fight coronavirus. You can fly, but as you fly and land, don’t enter our territory.
“People in Abuja are not happy. They want Rivers state to be infected. They want to kill Rivers people and I will not allow it. I was elected to protect Rivers people. Rivers State is not a pariah state.
“Nigerians shake when they hear oil companies they shake because they have compromised. Imagine an appointed Minister issuing an order to an elected Governor. They wanted to rig us out and lost. The right must be done. We are talking about something that is killing people. They want coronavirus to escalate in Rivers State. The law must be tested. Make sacrifice and let us contain the virus.
“Nobody will use Rivers State as a toy. This Federal Government does not like us, but a government will come that likes Rivers state.”
Wike also announced the arrest and quarantine of 22 Exxon Mobil staff who entered the state from Akwa Ibom for allegedly violating the executive order on lockdown.
“Security agencies arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who came into the state from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State in violation of the extant Executive Order restricting movement into the state. We do not know the coronavirus status of these individuals,” the governor said.
“Even though security agencies advised that they be allowed to go back to Akwa Ibom State, I insisted that the law must take its course. This is because nobody is above the law.
“As a responsive government, we have quarantined them in line with the relevant health protocols and they will be charged to court.
“We will fight this matter legally. Exxon Mobil does not operate in Rivers State . That they have a point at the Onne seaport does not mean that they operate in Rivers state.”