Why we arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil in Rivers – Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Friday, announced that 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who entered the State from Akwa Ibom have been arrested for violating the State's  lockdown order.

Wike in a live press conference at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Friday, vowed that the state is ready to engage Exxon Mobil in a legal battle that will be a test case in legal jurisprudence in the country.

A week ago, two pilots of Caverton Helicopters were also arrested and prosecuted for flying passengers into Rivers state in violation of the order banning movements in the state.

Wike, however, announced that Carveton Helicopters have apologised to the State Government over the conduct that led to the arrest of their pilots and passengers.

He said: "Security agencies arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who came into the state from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State in violation of the extant Executive Order restricting movement into the state. We do not know the coronavirus status of these individuals. We will fight this matter legally. Exxon Mobil does not operate in Rivers State. That they have a point at the Onne seaport does not mean that they operate in Rivers State.

"Even though security agencies advised that they be allowed to go back to Akwa Ibom State, I insisted that the law must take its course. This is because nobody is above the law. As a responsive government, we have quarantined them in line with the relevant health protocols and they will be charged to court. The law must be tested. Make sacrifice and let us contain the virus."

He added that "if people selling Akara are being charged to court in Lagos,"  then nothing stops Rivers State from prosecuting oil companies when they flout the law.

Wike also stated that the State Government established a Food Purchasing Committee with a directive to buy foodstuffs and fish from Rivers Farmers. The Committee, he said, has procured foodstuffs and set up food banks in the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State.

"To ensure that nobody complains of hunger during this period, the Foodstuffs Purchasing Committee has set up Food Banks across the 23 Local Government Areas of the State. These Food Banks are to be supervised by Agricultural Desks in each Local Government Area."

He said that it is important for all organisations doing full or partial business in the state to support the state government's efforts at containing coronavirus "Failure to support us shows total disregard for corporate social responsibility," Wike said.



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