CAPE TOWN - The governor of Nigeria's Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, at the weekend supervised the demolition of two hotels for violating the government's Covid-19 lockdown regulations, local media reported.
Wike on May 5 imposed a lockdown as part of efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus in the state, ordering all hotels and businesses to halt operations and warning that "any hotel that operates will be brought down".
"Those who disobey the directive will face the consequences", he said, according to the Guardian Nigeria newspaper.
Prudent Hotel in Eleme and Etemete Hotel in Onne have subsequently been demolished, news website Politics Nigeria reported.
The move has divided opinion among residents, with some saying the governor over-exercised his power, while others commended him.
“This is no longer democracy but a dictatorship in Rivers state, the governor has become a despot, who acts on whims,” the Guardian quoted civil rights advocate and former special adviser to Wike, Christian Inko-tariah, as saying.
Owner of the Prudent Hotel Needam Gogorodani, said its demolition meant that 60 employees had automatically lost their jobs, the Guardian reported
The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre as well as the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project told the paper they had begun a process to sue the state government for demolishing the hotels.
The coronavirus has claimed 143 lives so far out of 4,399 confirmed cases in Nigeria, while 778 people have recovered, according to the latest data provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.