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Anambra CP, thousands stranded as Delta locks down for COVID-19

By Sony Neme, Asaba
30 March 2020   |   4:05 am
Thousands of travellers in and out of Delta have been stranded, as the enforcement of border closure begins in the state.

Border closure a means to diversify the economy, says govt
Thousands of travellers in and out of Delta have been stranded, as the enforcement of border closure begins in the state.

Even some commuters, who had attempted to beat security by crossing the River Niger through boats stationed underneath the facility, were frustrated.

That end of Asaba was the main attraction with several vehicles stretching for over two kilometers on the ever-busy Onitsha-Benin expressway, while several others heading for the South East lamented their abruptly aborted trips.

Curiously, many passengers, who spoke to The Guardian, feigned ignorance of the decision by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration to shut the state’s gateways at 6.00am, as the security personnel stationed at the bridgehead had a hectic time managing the development.

However, at about 7.41am, a number of travellers were granted access, even as a commercial transporter, James Orji, regretted the order.

At exactly 8.07am, law enforcement agents eased restrictions, as the presence of the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, who was also caught up in the web, may have also played a role in the decision

A security source, who pleaded anonymity, said the relaxation of the restrictions albeit temporal was to unburden the infrastructure owing to the huge weight the articulated trucks were exerting on it.

Internally however, it was business as usual, as the motor parks in Kwale, headquarters of Ndokwa West council area of the state, loaded without recourse to the social distancing policy.

Other commercial vehicles plying the busy Asaba-Ughelli expressway threw caution to the winds, overloading with reckless abandon.

While, saloon cars carried two passengers on the front seat with the driver and four behind, the buses had four commuters per seat in defiance to the directives of the state and federal governments.

However, the Delta government has enjoined residents, especially the business community and friends of the state to see the lockdown as a measure to keeping them safe from the ravaging Coronavirus challenge.

The Commissioner for Trade and Investments, Chika Ossai, gave the reassurance while charging investors, entrepreneurs and manufacturers to take the instruction in good faith, “as the state means well for the well-being of all residents and those associated with its industrial development drive.”

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Chuks Eboagwu, the commissioner stated that it had become imperative to reassure business partners in and outside the state “not to be troubled by the closure, which was occasioned by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, rather they should see it as a means to diversify the economy.”

He said: “There is the need to obey all the preventive methods and precautions to stay safe from the dreaded COVID-19 that is ravaging the world. While thanking God that Delta State has not recorded any case yet, we appeal to both our foreign and local investors to join hands with state government in creating the needed awareness and by applying possible preventive methods to keep the epidemic at bay.”