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Partial lockdown: Commercial transport operators flout Cross River Government’s order

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Commercial transport operators in Calabar have continued to flout the Cross River Government’s order, restricting movement into and out of the state.

Gov. Ben Ayade had earlier declared a partial lockdown in the state, suspending inter state travels but allowing movement within the state.

The governor said the measure was to enable the residents go about their daily businesses within the state and prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

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However, an investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in the early hours of Friday in Calabar show that transporters in the city have continued to flout the state government’s order.

A loaders who pleaded anonimity in the motor park in Etta-Agbo, opposite the Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC) park, told NAN that he was loading a vehicle going to Uyo Akwa Ibom capital.

He said that the fare was N2000 per passenger as against N600 to N800 charged in the past.

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“We move between 5 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. Many vehicles have moved already and tomorrow morning, we will still load.

“We still convey passengers to and from Lagos and Abuja and the fare is N15,000 per passenger. The operation now involves settlement at the borders. When you settle, you pass,” he said.

NAN reports that operators of Calculux Transport Company in Etta- Agbor, load vehicles which leave Calabar for Port Harcourt between 5.30 a.m and 6 a.m. daily.

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Each passenger pays N6,000 as against between N1,600 and N2,000 charged before the partial lockdown order.

NAN investigation further reveals that some transporters convey passengers from the city to Itu River Bridge head, the boarder between Cross River and Akwa Ibom at the cost of N1,500.

Such passengers trek across the bridge to board vehicles to Uyo which charge N1,000 per commuter.

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Contacted, Dr. Betta Edu, the Chairman of the Cross River COVID-19 Task Force, said she was unaware of the illegal activities of the transport operators.

“It is sad that the state is paying so much to these agencies for the border points to be effectively manned and blocked.

“We need to change strategy, I know what to do,” she said.

NAN recalls that Gov Ayade at about 2.a m. on Wednesday, paid an unscheduled visit to Itu Bridge boarder to observe the conduct of the security operatives.

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