– I didn’t meet Abba Kyari – Diri
The Bayelsa State Government on Wednesday asked civil servants on Grade Level 1-12 to stay at home for two weeks with effect from Thursday, March 26.
It explained that only those on essential services such as medical and health workers, fire service personnel, cleaners and other related personnel were exempted from the temporary restriction.
The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku, who addressed the media after a meeting between Governor Douye Diri and the expanded multi-sectoral task force on the COVID-19 pandemic, said burial and wedding ceremonies have also been suspended in the state for the same period.
Dr. Apoku said other decisions reached by the committee included the review downward of the number of persons at worship centres and other public gatherings to 20 from the initial 50.
The restriction order also affected night clubs and bars in the state as well as commercial vehicles and tricycles that had been directed by the state Ministry of Transport to reduce the number of passengers they carry.
Governor Diri had earlier dispelled the rumour over his alleged contact with the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, who a few days ago tested positive to the corona virus.
He also explained his meeting with his Bauchi State counterpart, Senator Bala Mohammed, who also tested positive to the virus.
His Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said the governor cleared the air during an inspection tour of the isolation wards at the state-owned Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) in Okolobiri.
Amid speculations on the social media of him coming in contact with both men during recent visits to the Presidential Villa, the governor expressed surprise and decried the rumour.
Senator Diri explained that he never met Kyari during the National Economic Council meeting at the State House in Abuja on March 19 but that he sat close to the Bauchi governor due to the alphabetical sitting arrangement.
He said he learnt that Governor Mohammed reportedly tested positive after he had contact with the son of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who had also tested positive to the virus, but that the March 19 meeting was before Governor Mohammed and Atiku’s son met.
His words: “I have no link with Bala Mohammed and Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Buhari. What happened was that in the NEC meeting we normally sit in alphabetical order. After Bauchi is Bayelsa in the seating arrangement.
“When we had the meeting, he (Senator Bala) had not had any contact with Atiku’s son or Abba Kyari. At that meeting, Kyari was not present. We were told he was in Germany. So, actually I am surprised about the speculation that I had contact with the Chief of Staff.”
Governor Diri expressed his government’s preparedness to tackle any outbreak of the disease in the state.
He echoed the need for prevention and caution on the part of the citizenry by urging them to imbibe regular hand washing and use of sanitisers.
He equally commended the NDUTH for its ingenuity in the production of hand sanitisers and assured the institution of government’s support to boost its production.