Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has lamented that some persons in the state still do not believe COVID-19 exists.
He said this while warning residents to adhere to COVID-19 protocols or force him to impose another lockdown on the state.
Wike, who was speaking at the thanksgiving ceremony held for Priscilla Nwanediye Mark on her 90th birthday at the St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government on Sunday, said the state cannot afford to spend money on treating patients of the virus.
The Governor in a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, described as worrisome the refusal of most churches and markets in the State to enforce the compulsory wearing of face mask in adherence to COVID-19 protocol.
“When you go to some churches, they don’t wear masks. Go to the market, they don’t wear masks. They believe COVID is not real. It’s not real because it has not happened to you; nobody had died whom you know. When somebody has died and the person was close to you, you will know that Covid is real.
“So, it is real and I want to appeal to all of you that we have to be more strict now because the second wave is more dangerous than the first wave. It’s very, very dangerous. I know how many people we have lost since the second wave started,” he stated.
Wike implored the Bishop of Diocese of Ikwerre to prevail on members of all the churches under his jurisdiction to always wear their face masks and observe extant protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
“If you don’t comply, I have no choice, but to shut down the churches; Pentecostal, Catholic, Anglican. I have no choice, because when you have it, who spends the money? It is the state that treats.
“So, we need to use the money for some other things, but not for this. Let us discipline ourselves and know that COVID is real. Let nobody tell you that there is nothing like COVID. It’s real.”