Thursday, May 28, 2020

COVID-19: Reps probe police, NSCDC over lockdown breaches

The House of Representatives has condemned the flouting of the interstate lockdown order declared by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over the coronavirus pandemic.
The House also resolved to investigate the alleged role being played by men of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in the flouting of the lockdown.
Buhari had declared restriction on interstate movement as part of measures to curb the spread of the disease.
At the plenary on Thursday, the House considered and adopted a motion moved by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu; former Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and Messrs Victor Nwokolo, Nicholas Mutu, Nicholas Ossai, Julius Pondi, Ben Igbakpa, Efe Afe, Thomas Ereyitomi, and Francis Waive.
The motion was entitled, ‘Need for Effective Enforcement of the Inter-State Lockdown by Security Agents.’
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to mandate the relevant committees to interface with the police and the NSCDC to investigate their “alleged complicity and better ways of curbing these lapses.”
The House also asked that a special task force be set up to monitor and implement the interstate lockdown.
Moving the motion, Elumelu said, “The House notes that after due consultations with state governors, the Federal Government on the 27th of April, 2020, announced, among several regulations, the need to ban non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice and overnight curfew, from 8 pm to 6 am, exempting movement for essential services and controlled inter-state movement of goods and services from producers to customers.
“The mandatory use of face masks in public places as well as maintaining physical distances and personal hygiene. Restrictions on social and religious gatherings.
“The House is worried that at a time like this when movement is being restricted worldwide, there are videos of massive movements of travellers mostly smuggled in trucks carrying food items or livestock from one part of the country to another. This a complete drawback to the COVID-19 containment effort.”
The Minority Leader said there were reports that security agents who should enforce the restriction were allegedly aiding and abetting travellers.
The House is troubled that there are serious reports of complicity of security agents who are supposed to be enforcers to the compliance of the orders of Mr president on the inter-state lockdown.
“The House is concerned that the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 has raised the alarm over what it described as an increased level of inter-state movement, worsened by the dubious concealment of people in food-carrying vehicles. If not immediately curtailed, (it) will further increase the number of COVID-19 cases to an alarming high, that can put the country in a precarious state.”

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