Governor Nyesom Wike has announced that 22 staff of ExxonMobile who flew into Rivers state on Thursday April 15, in violation of a lockdown order he issued will be prosecuted. Asides disclosing that the 22 oil workers will be prosecuted in court just like the 2 Caverton Helicopter pilots, Wike also stated that the state is prepared to test the laws on its ability to shut its borders and protect the lives of its people in view of the widespread COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor said;
“ExxonMobil brought in 22 persons without telling us so that they can be quarantined and tested. I will fight this on my own; the security agencies have orders from Abuja (not to be involved) but we will go to court.
“We (Rivers) and ExxonMobil, we will test the law; the law must be tested. We will do same thing to ExxonMobil as we did to Caverton Helicopter. They will not be treated differently, just because they are a foreign company and the other a Nigerian company.
“These people don’t want to respect the laws just because they are ExxonMobil but this will expose those in Abuja because nobody can use Rivers as you. They should not kill Rivers people because they hate Wike.”
“People in Abuja are not happy (because of the low infection rate in Rivers state). They are not happy that there are no reports of new cases every day.”
Reacting to the Rivers State Governor’s threat of prosecution, ExxonMobil’s Media and Communication manager, Oge Udeagha said:
“We are working with Rivers state government to resolve a transportation misunderstanding. As always, wherever we operate, we comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulation.”