Governor Nyesom Wike of Nigeria’s River state has ordered two hotels to be demolished for continuing to operate during the coronavirus lockdown.
But these extreme measures are real.
Rivers state areas in total lockdown
Lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Nigeria was first imposed for two weeks from 30 March 2020 in only three states: Abuja, Lagos and Ogun. It was later extended on 13 April and other states began to introduce lockdowns of their own.
On 26 March Wike closed the borders of Rivers state. He later announced that two of the state’s local government areas, Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City, would be put in total and indefinite lockdown from 7 May.
The lockdown restricts movement and business activities. One regulation is that “all hotels, guest houses and beer parlours must remain closed”.
‘Government will bring down that hotel’
On 7 May, as the lockdown came into effect, Wike spoke at the inauguration of the Rivers state Covid-19 task force. He told its members: “Any hotel that is operating, identify it and we will bring down the hotels.”
Three days later, on 10 May, the governor himself supervised the demolition of both the Prudent Hotel in Eleme and the Etemete Hotel in Onne. Photos of the Wike at the demolitions appeared on his Twitter page.
The governor said no one would be exempt from similar punishment, including members of his People’s Democratic Party.
He tweeted: “We said if any hotel operates, Government will bring down that hotel. We are doing what we have told people that we are going to do.” – Keegan Leech
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