Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike received more knocks on Monday for demolishing two major hotels in Eleme.
Among the people that flayed his action is a former Senator Magnus Abe, and owner of one the bulldozed hotels, Promise Gogorodari. The second hotel, Edemeteh, was located in Onne, also in Eleme Local Government Area.
The governor also took a swipe at those he called “uninformed critics and social media legal practitioners” for criticising the demotion which, according to him, was done “in good faith” and backed by Executive Orders,
But Abe, who once represented Rivers Southeast Senatorial District at the National Assembly, warned that Wike’s “draconian measures’’ were capable of jeopardising the fight against COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the state.
He said: “The demolition and action of private property, the closure of all sources of survival for citizens of Rivers State without due consideration to their means of sustenance in the name of the battle against COVID-19, are draconian measures that will prove counterproductive in the long run.”
Abe pointed out that even in times of physical warfare, the actions of the governor amounted to commission of war crimes.
A former Minister of Aviation and PDP member, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said he was “amazed” by Wike’s demolition of the hotels.
He tweeted via his verified Twitter handle @realFFK: “Two hotels demolished in Port Harcourt because they violated the governor’s executive order on COVID-19?
“The governor did not see fit to simply close down the hotels and arrest the culprits but instead he knocked them both down? I am utterly amazed.”
Owner of Prodest Hotel, Mr. Gogorodari, described the demotion of the facility as a setback not only for himself, his family and staff members but the state government.
He denied that Prodest, which he said took him seven years to build, breached the lockdown order by Wike.
Gogorodari accused the Rivers State Government of failing to do due diligence before pulling down the hotel..
He said: “I am based in Lagos, but I am not in a right frame of mind to speak now . There is nobody who will not feel bad about this. It is a hotel that I built in seven years .The demolition of the hotel is a setback to the state in terms of investment.
“That was an investment that was taking care of my family and relatives and people around me. There was no fair hearing before the demolition took place. With this, many people are out of job.
“My hotel did not violate any order . The government was supposed to do some investigations before doing that . And if they found me or the hotel wanting, then another procedure should be followed ; not demolishing a structure like that.”