RIVERS State Governor Nyesom Wike on Tuesday accused the Federal Government of playing politics with the relocation of almajirai to contain the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.
“When they started relocating the almajirai in the North, the Federal Government said nothing. Immediately they heard that we have relocated some almajirai, they came up with the declaration that it is against the inter-state movement. Why this double standard?” he said.
The governor also urged traditional rulers to set up a task force in their communities to enforce the closure of markets, hotels and beer parlours across the state.
Addressing the monarchs at the Government House in Port Harcourt, Wike said the shutdown of Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor local government areas was necessary to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
The governor urged chairmen of local government areas to help the monarchs to implement the directive.
Wike threatened to punish anyone who violates the state’s directive on the use of face masks and the closure of markets.
“As the hotels remain closed, those coming in will have nowhere to stay. When we are safe, we can enjoy what we can. I am not doing this because I hate anyone, but it is for the protection of our people
No human being will see death and embrace it. We cannot kill ourselves. The only solution is to ensure social distancing and proper hygiene,” he said.
Also, officials of Abia State Homeland Security yesterday intercepted over 20 persons hidden in a food truck heading into the state from the North.
It was learnt that the state’s team, led by the Commissioner for Homeland Security, Prince Dan Okoli, intercepted the truck at the boundary between Abia and Enugu states on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.
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Information Commissioner John Okiyi-Kalu confirmed the incident in a phone interview.
He said over 100 persons hidden in food and animal trucks were intercepted and turned back by the Homeland Security outfit between Monday night and Tuesday.
Eighteen almajirai from Sokoto State who sneaked into Ondo State in the night are to be sent back.
It was gathered that the almajirai came in a cement truck.
They arrived in the state when Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu ordered total blockade of some routes to enable security operatives function properly at the boundaries.
Residents of Oyemekun Road in Akure, the state capital, raised the alarm when they saw the strangers early yesterday.
The residents said they opted to watch the almajirai to prevent them from leaving the area to unknown destination.
The bodies of the almajirai were covered with cement.
One of them gave his name simply as Garba and told interrogators that they arrived in the state by a bus.
Garba was said to have kept sealed lips on why they embarked on the journey to Ondo State.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, said he led the state’s Task Force Team on COVID-19 to where the almajirai were dumped to carry out the governor’s order that they must be returned to Sokoto State.
Also, Katsina State government yesterday set up an almajiri committee to identify, collate data and send packing non-indigenous almajirai to their states of origin.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mustapha Muhammed Inuwa, inaugurated the committee on behalf of Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
Inuwa said the decision was reached at a meeting of the SSGs in the 19 northern states via telephone.
The committee, chaired by Alhaji Hussain Karadua, who is also Special Adviser to the Governor on Employment and Vocation, is also expected to ensure formal contact with appropriate governmental agencies on the pupils to send back to their states of origin.