Authorities in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern Rivers State have demolished two hotels because of alleged violations of lockdown rules to meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

State governor Nyesom Wike, who oversees the demolition of Edemete Hotel and Prodest Home on Sunday, said operators had not followed orders to close the hotel.

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He said people who tested positive for the virus were found in hotels across the country. But he did not say if someone with Covid-19 was staying in one of the destroyed hotels.

The managers of both companies were arrested, but the owner of Prodest Home denied that the hotel was opened.

“This hotel is not functioning and 70% of the employees have been laid off,” Gogorobari Promise Needam told the BBC.

“There are only three people on the ground.”

“Police officials came and asked for bribes. They said they would let us operate if we gave them money, but we said we have not been working and so we did not have money to give,” he said.

The River River government denied the accusation.

The state currently has 15 active cases of the virus and two deaths.

The state capital, Port Harcourt was lockdown last Thursday.

Nigeria has a total of more than 4,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with the commercial capital of Lagos has its hotspot. However, the lockdown imposed there and in several other states was partially relaxed by the end of March.

 

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