The governor, who has imposed a 24-hour lockdown on Port Harcourt and Obi Akpor local government areas over the COVID-19 pandemic, refused to place port workers under those who are on essential duty.
This is contrary to the guidelines of the presidential task force of COVID-19 which classified port operations as essential services.
The federal government had said the ports should remain open to trade so as to facilitate importation and delivery of essential goods, such as foods and medical supplies.
But in the last one week, many port workers, including staffers of the regulatory Nigerian Ports Authority, terminal operators, shipping agents and dockworkers have been arrested, with vehicles conveying them to work impounded.
Speaking with TheCable, Daniel Kalu, managing director of Africa Atlantic International Agencies, said the vessel transporting his consignment of 4,500 metric tons of frozen mackerel fish worth millions of euros have been unable to berth at the Rivers Port for about two weeks, a situation which he said could make his company lose the entire consignment.
“Even if we get the consignment out now, we already would have lost half of our investment because the fish has lost quality and we won’t be able to sell at the standard price,” he said.
“That is not to speak of the demurrage that we must pay to ship owners for keeping their vessels longer than expected. We pay a demurrage of 7800 US dollars per day.”
He added that the same vessel had called in and discharged cargo at the Lagos ports before heading into Port Harcourt where activities are on standstill.
Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor’s spokesman, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report but in a statewide boradcast last week, Wike had said: “The hard choices we have to make as a Government and as a people over the COVID-19 pandemic are all premised on upholding the sanctity of human life.”
The governor was severely criticised during the weekend over the pulling down of two hotels in Eleme and Onne on his orders.
The hotels had allegedly violated the directive to suspend operations till further
notice.

Culled : TheCable