On May 4, Governor Nyesom Wike gave an executive order that every hotel in Rivers State should suspend operation, as a way of curbing the spread of COVID-19. A stern warning was issued against any hotelier planning to disobey this order, and it was clearly spelled out that such hotel would be demolished.
Let us not forget that about eight out of the 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state emanated from hotels, including a returnee offshore worker who lodged also in one of the hotels in Rivers State.
After the order was given, almost all the hotels suspended operations, but two recalcitrant hoteliers continued operating despite the warnings and directives. When Rivers State COVID-19 Taskforce visited Prodest Homes Motel, Eleme, members of the taskforce were BEATEN, and their vehicle SEIZED. As I type this, one member of the taskforce is HOSPITALIZED after sustaining serious injuries from the attack unleashed on them. I wonder why people are fixated on demolition and not talking about the offense committed.
The said hotels are in rural areas, imagine if their activities bring COVID-19 to that area, the community transmission would be colossal.
To let you know that the action of the state government has no political undertone, the young man declared wanted by the government is even the PDP youth leader in Eleme. The taskforce found him in that hotel, he immediately sent thugs to beat them up and SEIZED the government vehicle.
For those who are of the opinion that the buildings should have been sealed off, I want you to know that the government took that hard decision to serve as deterrent to others, because some hoteliers would deliberately flout the order if they know their hotel won’t be demolished as earlier stated. DON’T FORGET THAT NO MANSION CAN EQUATE THE LIFE OF ANYONE. We are talking about a matter of life and death here.
Finally, let us be law abiding citizens; by so doing, the government will tackle this pandemic quickly and normalcy will return.
Hon. Kelechi Nwogu