Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, has justified the demolition of two hotels in the state, saying that the state government did no wrong and acted within the confines of the law.
Governor Wike stated this in a broadcast to the state on Monday.
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Prudent Hotel, Eleme, and Etemeteh Hotel, Onne, were demolished on Sunday on the orders of the governor for allegedly violating the lockdown order imposed on the state to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The action elicited reactions from Nigerians, many of which criticised the governor for taking such a decision.
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But defending his decision, Governor Wike alleged that one of the hotel owners unleashed thugs to harass and assault members of the Rivers State Task Force who carried out the demolition exercise.
“We acted against the hotelier because, apart from using the facility to jeopardise the lives of our citizens in violation of the extant law, the owner audaciously unleashed thugs led by the Eleme local government youth leader of the Peoples Democratic Party and inflicted severe injuries on our task force members who went to enforce the law against the continued operation of the hotel.
“As we speak, nobody knows the fate of the lives of most of the victims of that brazen and deadly attack given the severity of the head injuries they sustained, “Governor Wike said.
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The governor insisted that his administration acted within the purview of his Executive Order, which he said has not been challenged or revoked by any law court.
While stating that he welcomes constructive criticism, Governor Wike described those who voiced their opposition against the state government’s action as “blinded critics” who are giving the state a bad name.
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He said: “And so, we’ve done no wrong as all our actions were taken in good faith and justified by, under and within the purview of the Executive Orders, which have neither been challenged nor set aside by any competent court of law.
“Therefore, while we welcome genuine criticisms directed towards strengthening our intervention measures, it is no use taking issues with uninformed critics and social media legal practitioners who, blinded and prodded by sheer politics, bias and hatred, have opted to demonised and paint our lawful and responsible actions in bad light.”
However, one of the hoteliers whose property was demolished in the Eleme area of the state insisted that his hotel did not flout the lockdown order of Rivers State or any extant law in the country.