Nigeria: Wike Sacks Perm SEC for Flouting COVID-19 Guidelines

9 July 2020

River State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has sacked a Permanent Secretary, Mr. Sunny Okere, with immediate effect for flouting and obstructing the enforcement of the COVID-19 guidelines.

He said the sacked permanent secretary had the temerity to chase away officials of the state Ministry of Health, who went to Oyigbo to enforce the established guidelines on public burials.

A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, said the governor spoke yesterday in a statewide broadcast.

Wike said his action against the permanent secretary would act as a lesson to all other public officers who might wish to be irresponsible.

The governor also appealed to residents of the state to take personal responsibility to curb the spread of coronavirus.

He said with the commencement of inter-state travels and domestic flights, residents must be cautious in relating with friends and relatives coming from heavily impacted areas like Lagos and Abuja in line with the established protocol of 14 days isolation.

He said as at July 8, the COVID-19 samples collected were 4,573; samples tested, 3,871; total confirmed cases, 1,235; discharged cases, 810; active cases, 382 and total deaths 43.

He said: "From the first days of this virus, we took serious measures and literally set the pace in our country to slow down the spread.

"We have noticed that most affected people are resorting to self-medication instead of presenting themselves for treatment at the state's treatment centres.

"Those who experience symptoms of fever, cough, loss of smell or taste and shortness of breath, among others should present themselves for appropriate treatment at the expense of the state government.

"Furthermore, in the face of increasing infections and systemic risk to public health and safety, most residents have continued to disregard the mitigating protocols with reckless abandon.

"Public and private transporters, business owners and churches are refusing to adhere to the relevant protocols.

"Burial ceremonies are also reportedly being conducted in clear breach of the 50 persons maximum attendance limit such that a serving Permanent Secretary had the temerity to chase away officials of the State Ministry of Health who went to enforce the established guidelines on public burials at Oyigbo"

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