Wike reviews entry waivers, permits for oil companies’ workers

Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt

Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has reviewed waivers and permits granted workers of oil companies to enter the state and carry out their operations despite the ongoing lockdown to check spread of coronavirus pandemic.

The governor, in a broadcast on Monday said the review became necessary given the threat posed to the state by oil and gas company workers and appealed to helicopter servicing companies, especially Bristow and Carveton, responsible in flying the oil workers, to obey the state’s new directives.

Wike said henceforth requests for waivers and entry permits from oil and gas companies would be considered on a case- by- case basis.

He said the 14th confirmed positive case was flown into Port Harcourt by Bristow Helicopters from an offshore oilfield facility in Akwa Ibom State on the 29th of April 2022.

He said such positive cases had shown and confirmed fears that unvetted entry of oil and gas workers from Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere remained a potential source for the importation and spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Reeling out the new order, Wike said: “All inward-bound vehicles and flights into Rivers State from oil and gas companies with workers for crew change or other essential operations must first submit details of their manifests to the state’s taskforce on COVID-19 for proper vetting of their virus status before they can be allowed to enter the state.

“All operators of chartered flights into Rivers State for oil and gas operations, especially Bristow and Caverton Helicopters, should please comply with this directive and refrain from jeopardizing the lives of our people for the sake of making profits”

The governor observed with disappointment the persistent disobedience to the state government’s lawful orders and directives on COVID-19 by a number of communities and residents, especially in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City local government areas despite repeated warning.

Also in Newzandar News: Wike places two councils on total lockdown

He said: “On the whole, we can all see that COVID-19 cases confirmed across the country are growing in numbers, meaning that the situation in our State, although still relatively low, can change for the worse, if we relax our measures or become complacent.

“In view of the foregoing, government has resolved to impose additional measures by the Executive Order, I have just signed, which are targeted at reinforcing our efforts toward stopping the spread of the virus in the state”.

He said all residents must wear face masks before stepping out of their homes to the public space and prohibited the operations of all private motor parks, taxi ranks and loading bays throughout the state.

He said: “No commercial taxi driver should carry more than three passengers in his vehicles per trip. No commercial bus driver should carry more than 40 per cent of full capacity of his vehicle. All tricycles (Keke NAPEP) must limit their passengers to two persons only;

“No private vehicle should carry more than three persons in the car. All drivers, persons or passengers in commercial and private vehicles, including tricycles, must wear face masks and observe the use of sanitizers. All hotels, guest houses and beer parlours must remain closed;

“A task force has been set-up to arrest and prosecute any person without wearing face masks in public places or inside vehicles; impound and auction any vehicle with persons or passengers without wearing facemasks; arrest and prosecute any driver loading or off-loading passengers at any private motor-park, taxi rank or loading bay”.

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