By Tordue Salem – Abuja
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Honourable Ndudi Elumelu, has called on security agencies in the country, to urgently enforce the interstate lockdown, declared by President Muhammadu Buhari, to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elumelu’s call, came through a motion entitled: “Need For the Effective Enforcement of the Interstate Lockdown by Security Agents”.
Co-sponsors of the Motion, are: Reps Victor Nwokolo, Nicholas Mutu, Leo Ogor, Nicholas Ossai, Julius Pondi, Been Igbakpa’s, Dafe Afe, Thomas Ereyetomi and Francis Waive.
In presenting the Motion, Elumelu recalled that “after due consultations with state governors the federal government on the 27th of April 2020 announced, among several regulations;
1.the need to ban non-essential interstate passenger travels until further notice.
2.overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am, excepting movement for essential services and controlled interstate movement of goods and services from producers to customers.
3.The mandatory use of face mask in public places as well as maintaining physical distances and personal hygiene.
4.Restrictions on social and religious gatherings”.
He, however, regretted that “while the restriction on interstate movement is supposedly on-going, Nigerians are assailed daily with troubling images and videos of people traveling across the length and breadth of different states of the country, which is a clear violation of the presidential order on travel bans”.
He said “On several occasions, state government have intercepted trailer loads of people moving in the middle of the night and sneaking into other states in this lockdown period, whereas there are supposed to be security agents at states borders implementing the presidential lockdown orders”,
Elumelu also expressed his worries that .at a time like this when movement is being restricted worldwide, there are videos of massive movements of travelers, mostly smuggled in trucks carrying food items or livestock from one part of the country to another, this a complete drawback to the COVID-19 containment effort”.
He said he was “Troubled that there are serious reports of complicity of security agents who are supposed to be enforcers to the compliance of the orders of Mr president on the interstate lockdown”.
He expressed concerns “that the presidential task force on COVID-19 has raised an alarm over what it described as an increased level of interstate movement, worsened by the dubious concealment of people in food carrying vehicles.
“If not immediately curtailed will further increase the number of COVID-19 cases to an alarming high, that can put the country in a precarious state”.
The House adopted the motion without debate, as it resolved to mandate its relevant committees to interface with the police and the Nigerian security and civil defence corps to investigate its alleged complicity and better ways of curbing these lapses.
The House also resolved to push for a special task force, be set up to monitor and implement the interstate lockdown.