Road commuters pay between N200 and N5000 to defy inter-state travel ban – group alleges
Group under the auspices of Cleen Foundation has raised concern over the alleged extortion of money between N200 – N5000 from travelers to allow movement in and out of states by security agents.
The Foundation in a statement by it’s Executive Director, Benson Olugbuo disclosed that In the South-South the group observed interstate movements by citizens.
Explaining that: “In Bayelsa state, our observers reported that police personnel at Okaki junction (toll-gate) which is one of the boundaries between Rivers and Bayelsa in the eastern part of the state were seen extorting money from motorists to enable entry into the state”
“Some of these officers were however swiftly apprehended by the new Police leadership in the state. In Cross River state, it was observed that the taskforce set up by the state government were becoming less visible at the border points/tolls”
“This has resulted to free entry and exit from the state by citizens. In Edo, a trailer conveying 84 travelers from the Northern part of the country were intercepted at Irrua by the state task force, the travelers were taken to Irrua specialist hospital where three (3) of the persons tested positive for COVID-19”
“In Akwa Ibom state, a truckload of cattle herders was apprehended at Itu LGA (a boundary point between Akwa Ibom and Cross River state) by a Divisional Police Officer”
“Our observers in Lagos state reported that restrictions on interstate movement between Lagos and Ogun state through the Lagos-Ibadan express road are strict due to the heavy presence of personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps and other security operatives on the road”
“However, the outward bound movement from Lagos to Ogun was less policed and scrutinized as commercial transporters flouted directives on the number of passengers they are expected to convey”
“Ogun Waterside LGA of Ogun state that borders Lagos and Ondo states has also remained a key entry point due to the porous nature of both the land and sea borders”
“This has also led to a high number of COVID-19 infected victims that has been discovered in the LGA. In Ekiti state, reports from border LGAs such as Ikere, Emure, Ekiti South West, Moba, Ekiti West etc indicate that security agents extort money between N200 – N5000 from travelers to allow movement in and out of the state”
“A bus full of travelers allegedly from Sokoto state was intercepted at Afao-Ekiti in Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA within the period under review. Residents of Ondo state border communities also alleged that security officials are extorting money in exchange for free passage of travelers at night”
“It was also reported that nine (9) Almajiri children brought from Kano state were sent back at the entrance of Akure after they had passed many checking points”
“Reports emanating from Niger state in North Central Nigeria have shown an increase in interstate travels especially within Shiroro LGA of the state”
“In Benue state, transporters were observed to utilize the midnight period for interstate travels despite the ban on non-essential interstate travels”
“In Kogi state, observers reported that security personnel were seen extorting money from transporters in the sum of 3000 naira each to allow passage through the Abaji/Lokoja expressway”
“In Kebbi state, North West, Nigeria, there is a restriction order on the movement of persons across the state’s borders. But with the complicity on the part of the security and law enforcement agents, enforcement has remained challenged. We also noticed influx of people from Niger Republic and Benin Republics into the state”
“The porous nature of our national borders around Kebbi state poses a serious public health risk to the state and the entire country”
“In Abia State, our volunteers reported that at the border between Abia and Rivers state, passengers were seen disembarking from buses coming from Port Harcourt and walking across the Imo river bridge to join other waiting vehicles on the Abia side of the bridge, all under the watchful eyes of security officials who did not stop them”
“Also, it was reported that on Tuesday May 5, 2020, the COVID-19 taskforce and security officials intercepted and turned a truck laden with food items from Zamfara which allegedly had over 24 Almajiri children hidden under the food items and another group hidden in cattle trucks at the Enugu – Abia border”
“It was also reported that at the Enugu – Anambra border communities at Ugwuoba and Amansea; motorists picked passengers from Enugu and dropped them at the border where they crossover and board vehicles going into Anambra. These happened under the watchful eyes of security operatives”
“Our volunteer from Oguta LGA in Imo state also reported that as early as 6.00am, vehicles from Omoku in Rivers State move in convoy to Onitsha via the Oguta Lake Pontoon Ferry and return back by 6.30pm every day. An average of N2,000 is paid for clearance.”
Olugbuo called on security institutions and their oversight agencies to sustain internal and external disciplinary measures to discipline personnel who are guilty of extorting citizens and violating human rights to serve as deterrent to other officers.
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