The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministerial Task-team on the enforcement of COVID-19 Restrictions, on Wednesday, arrested about 68 persons travelling through the territory from various parts of Nigeria.
Confirming the incident in Abuja, the Chairman of the task force, Ikharo Attah, lamented the increasing rate in which people violate the ban on interstate travel as announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him: “Drivers of the two Dangote trucks who were coming from Kano and Zaria after delivering goods, they now took passengers who were charged N1,500 each.
“Owners of the trucks must do all to ensure their trucks which are meant for haulage of goods are not converted to be illegally transporting persons from one state to another, thus violating the lockdown directives of the president. What the drivers do is to charge passengers along the road between N1,000 and N1,500 to transport them across states. Most of the drivers often ask the passengers to sit on the floor or hide in between bags so that they cannot be spotted by security personnel, but for us in the FCT, we check every truck before allowing them passage.
“The breakdown of those arrested are 17 persons travelling from Zaria to Lokoja and Asaba in Delta State, 16 persons travelling from Kano to Lokoja and Obajana in Kogi State and 25 persons travelling from Edo State to Zaria in Kaduna State.” He stated.
The 68 travellers, who were apprehended, were hidden in two Dangote company trucks and another truck conveying fertilisers from Edo state.
They were later arraigned before Ebiwari Damini Magistrate at Zuba Mobile Court.
Those convicted were Abdul Sani, a Dangote truck Driver and Mukhtar Usman, the fertiliser truck driver.
The Presiding Magistrate ruled that those who were allegedly going back to Zaria having been turned back at the entry of Edo state, be guided out of the FCT and allowed to return their original place of departure which is Zaria, even as he fined them N5, 000 each.
He also ruled that those from Kano and Zaria be returned to the places of their departure by the FCT Administration.