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Governor Wike’s Demolition of Rivers Hotel Escalates Human Rights Worries

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On Friday, May 8, River State Governor, Nyesom Wike personally supervised the demolition of two hotels in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State. Prudent Hotel and Etemeteh hotel were demolished with caterpillar excavators, with valuable properties inside them crushed. The Governor claimed that the two hotels were continuing to operate and carrying on activities in violation of his COVID-19 lockdown Executive Orders. Earlier, the Governor had personally gone on to the roads and streets of Port Harcourt ordering persons to be arrested for being out on the streets, cars impounded and set for auction. Indeed, he indicated that seized cars will be advertised the next day in specific newspapers and sold off in auction to bidding members of the public. The governor was also reported to have sealed off the State boundary with Abia State. The action of Rivers State Governor Wike highlights the concerns about human rights violations in this lockdown period. Not just Governor Wike, a few other Governors are reported to have engaged in serious arbitrary actions that violate the rights of citizens under the guise of COVID-19 lockdown enforcement. In Ebonyi State, the Governor, Dave Umahi announced that persons breaching his lockdown orders would be flogged on the streets by enforcement officials. Actions of officials in the period of COVID-19 have been very troubling. Citizens who are frustrated by the impact of COVID-19 and living under desperate conditions are being further victimised by the arbitrariness and impunity of Government action that disregards their sufferings. To worsen matters, the governments are making very little efforts to support citizens and help them cope with the ravaging effect of COVID-19 restrictions and impact.