News Rivers

COVID-19: Rivers Govt to fine wedding, burial violators N100m

The Rivers State Executive Council has reviewed some COVID-19 protocols with particular emphasis on burials and weddings, imposing a fine of N100m to violators of the directives during such ceremonies.

This is even as it approved reopening of schools in the state with effect from October 5, 2020.

A statement, signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said the council took the decisions at an emergency session presided over by Governor Nyesom Wike at the weekend.

The Commissioner for Social Welfare, Mrs. Inime Aguma, said the government reviewed the compliance to Executive Order 16 on the conduct of marriages in the state.

Aguma said henceforth, applications for marriages must be accompanied with an affidavit stating that there would be no reception, adding that violators of the protocol would pay N100m.

She added that local government chairmen were to be held responsible if they failed to monitor compliance in their various areas.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, said the council also reviewed issues regarding public burials during the COVID-19 period.

He said all public burials in the state were to be conducted in line with the official Gazette of the state which allowed only 50 persons to attend such ceremonies.

Chike said that henceforth, families applying for burials must provide death certificates and an affidavit that they must adhere strictly with all COVID-19 protocols.

He said defaulters would be liable to a fine of N100m while local government chairmen should ensure compliance in their domains.

The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, who spoke on the reopening of schools, said all secondary and vocational schools, universities and other tertiary institutions should resume academic activities.

He, however, said the council did not approve the reopening of primary schools based on expert medical advice.

Ebeku said the council also approved the setting up of a seven-man taskforce to monitor and enforce the compliance of COVID-19 protocols in the various schools.

He said the taskforce has the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt, Amb Desmond Akawor, as Chairman, while Mr. Rufus Godwins, Head of the State Civil Service; Commissioners for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike; Social Welfare, Mrs. Inime Aguma; Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Nwankpa, and Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim are to serve as members.

Also speaking, Nsirim announced the reopening of public places such as parks, cinemas and restaurants saying they would operate within the hours of 6am to 9pm daily.

Nsirim said night clubs and bars, as well as Oil Mill Market and Slaughter Market, Oginigba, would remain closed.

He said all the reopened public places must adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols or face severe sanctions.

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