Former representative of Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe has warned that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike's draconian measures to fight against the spread of Coronavirus will prove counterproductive if he fails to give his policies a human face.
This is as he stated that the war against the pandemic is fundamentally about collective humanity and therefore must be fought on strictly humane and just terms.
Abe, in a statement on his Facebook page, titled: "A Dangerous Gamble" said, the demolition and auction of private property, the closure of all sources of survival for citizens of Rivers State without due consideration to their means of sustenance in the name of the battle against COVID-19, are draconian measures that will prove counterproductive in the long run.
The statement reads in parts: "I am constrained to say these few words on the worrisome development in my dear State, Rivers.
"Lockdowns should come with clear provisions for the sustenance of the people, particularly the vulnerable population (the young, the old, the sick and the infirm) and exemptions must be made for emergency and essential services, such as foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, press, medical care, and security services, electricity, telecom, fuel supply etc.".
The senator cautioned that even in times of physical warfare, such actions of the governor is a war crime, because power without compassion is tyranny, he maintained.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain asserted that Rivers State war against COVID-19 at the present rate "runs the risk of dividing the state into two distinct camps, those who support the Governor and will justify, glorify and applaud any action taken by the Rivers State Government no matter how callous and ill-advised, and those who oppose the governor and will oppose every action of the state government no matter how well thought out or well intentioned the action may be".
He argued that in the face of glaring excesses, everyone will be compelled to choose one side or the other, and our state will suffer.
Abe said: "This need not be so; there is still time for the Rivers State Government to reconsider its strategy, and understand that this is a scientific war against a virus and all of us will need to be involved.
At this rate, the government may win the lockdown battle and lose the war. COVID-19 is going to be here for some time and we need the goodwill and cooperation of the majority of our people to win the war against this virus.
True victory will be when we survive united in utmost solidarity and our economy rebounds as we hope for recovery and prosperity.
This war is fundamentally about collective humanity, it must, therefore, be fought on strictly humane and just terms".
PARRY SAROH BENSON, ANIPR
Spokesperson to Senator Magnus Ngei Abe
May 11, 2020