46Thursday 02 April 2020BUSINESS DAYGov Wike; soldiering against COVID-19, now looking at palliativesGov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is one of the governors after Lagos that took string measures to wage war against any COVID-19 virus penetrating into the state. Apart from encouraging people to wash hands, sanitise and keep social distances, he followed by shutting down the boundaries of the state. This was seen as extreme measure, but he explained his reasons.He also set up a committee on massive awareness led by the Commissioner of Informa-tion and Communications, a pastor, Paulinus Msirim, who swung into action, organizing series of trainings for different sectors of the Rivers community including the media. The governor’s network stopped a positive person from flying to PH from Abuja.Soon, as expected, the virus spill found space to penetrate the Wike gauze. A 19-year-old model was declared positive after visiting some cities of the world. This created news fears. The governor realized that his protocol had been breached.The shutdown of boundaries created panic. Many visitors to PH rushed to leave the state before 6pm of Thursday last week. Thereafter, travellers began massing at the boundaries especially Abia and Bayelsa boundaries. Goods and food items coming into the state were halted. This caused panic and alarm.Next, the governor shut down all markets in the state from Wednesday last week. The resolve of the government was tested with the famous Oil Mill Market that attracts traders from other states and most of Niger Delta. This, too, created another level of panic.Each day, the governor issued fresh broad-cast which heightened anxiety but seemed to bring the people to the full consciousness of the risks at hand.When the people seemed not to get it clear into their heads that war was at hand, the governor struck. He suspended a local council chairman that did not act fully. He announced curfew in busy Diobu, Obiri-Ikwerre areas, etc. Now, the people understand its war.The governor updated his curfew later on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, thus: “This is to inform members of the public that the curfew imposed at Education Bus Stop to Agip Junc-tion, Ikwerre Road and Obiri Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba is for 24 hours with effect from today, March 31,2020 till further notice.”The governor was however urged to march bans with palliatives. He responded. Now, food corridor has been created to allow food pass. Market centres to be created. It was learnt that March salaries have been paid.The masses expect more palliatives such as food centres to help the poor and stimulus to vulnerable persons but the his media aide, Simeon Nwakudu, says: “With the Presidential address, Governor Wike has been vindicated for taking very profound steps to protect Rivers people. Agreed, the steps are tough, but it is for the good of Rivers people. Nothing is perfect, but steps must be taken to check the spread of coronavirus.