COVID-19: Motorists defy intra-state and inter-state ban in Niger

Commercial vehicles plying routes within Niger State and motorists on transit to other states have defied restriction of movement order by the state government to curtail the spread of Coronavirus Disease.

The News Agency of Nigeria checks in Minna on Saturday revealed that many commercial vehicles resisted the order, which started on March 28.

NAN reports that those apprehended by the task force on the restriction order included articulated vehicles, motorcycles, cars and buses.
Malam Yusuf Mohammed, a commercial driver, who was apprehended by the task force, said he was going to Lambata from Kontagora.

Mohammed, who overloaded the car with goods and commuters, also had four passengers at the back seat and two in the front seat, including himself, making seven.

NAN reports that the government recommended that such cars should carry three persons, including the driver, making four.
He said he was aware of the restriction order, but went ahead to defy it to make money.

Mohammed said the Kontagora branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers where he registered has not sensitised members on the number of passengers that the vehicle can carry per trip.

Also, Alhaji Ali Danzaki, an articulated vehicle driver, said he was conveying dry fish from Zuru in Kebbi State to Onitsha in Anambra State.
Danzaki pleaded with the task force to let him go, saying he was aware of the restriction but had a breakdown on the way.

He argued that the fish was part of food allowed by government under the restriction order.
Similarly, Onyinyechi Ahube, said he was going to the Chanchaga water works to fetch water.

Ahube, who was aware of the situation, said there was no water in his area in Chanchaga.

Malam Useni Usman, Treasurer, branch III NURTW, Minna, said the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps sensitised their members over the COVID-19 at the Abdulsalami Abubakar Motor Park in Minna on Friday.

Usman said the NSCDC told members of the need to respect government order to stay at home from 10am to 8pm daily toward curtailing the spread of the pandemic.

He said members from the branch of the union had since complied with the government order restricting movement.
Efforts by NAN to speak with the leader of the task force was not successful as he declined comment and refused to give his name.

NAN recalls that Dr. Mohammed Sidi, the state Commissioner for Health, had announced government decision to restrict movement of people within the state including those on transit from March 28 as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sidi said members of the task force had been deployed to Magama, Mokwa, Suleja, Lapai and Rafi Local Government Areas that share boundaries with Kebbi, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara States and Abuja.

NAN

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