Less than a week after Governor Nyesom Wike put out videos of himself personally leading patrol squads banded to enforce his curfew on the state, and his overt gestures demolishing two hotels in the state considered in violation of lock down rules, he has cancelled the proposed state-wide lock down. This is the latest development in a roller coaster of events that have plagued residents of Rivers State since the lock down began. First there was months of denial from Governor Wike’s camp of the existence of the Coronavirus pandemic, accusations that the negligence of the NCDC would lead to cases in the state, then the state wide lock down accompanied with enforcement via violent force.
As expected when political strong men flex their muscle during a crisis, many justified Governor Wike’s actions as necessary, suggesting that Rivers state indigenes were incapable of adhering to government sanctions and needed to be treated like animals to get results. Citizens complied eventually and waited to see what the government had in store. Without adequate preparation or even a rudimentary plan for how the state government will introduce safety measures to reduce the risk of the spread of the Coronavirus, the reason the lock down was instituted in the first place, Governor Wike has now lifted the lock down, replacing it with a curfew, like the one proposed and implemented by the Federal government in the beginning of May 2020, to begin on June 2, 2020.
Borders remain closed, with the exception of essential services. There are no plans for safely reopening, no plans for economic recovery, just vibes and curfews.
What is saddening about this, is that even this curfew is reactionary, and Rivers state indigents cannot trust that Governor Wike will not change his mind and reinstate the lock down or institute some other way to ‘protect’ the Rivers state indigents that puts their lives and livelihoods in jeopardy.