THE Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i, has directed the opening of its borders and the removal of all roadblocks at all the state boundaries as it eases the COVID-19 lockdown, essentially because it had become counter productive.
A statement on Monday by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, to the state Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i, noted that “clearly the prohibition of interstate travel by the Federal Government as part of COVID-19 containment efforts has largely been breached by the people charged with enforcing it.”
The government therefore directed that boundary patrols undertaken by state government officials as part of the quarantine regulations be stopped immediately.
The state government also ordered security operatives and other agencies to dismantle and relocate the barricades that enforced the ban on interstate travels.
The statement stated further: “These decisions are based on the recommendation of the State Taskforce on COVID-19, following a review of the situation of the state boundaries, as the state emerges from partial lockdown.
‘’The state government has received reports of persistent extortion of vehicles conveying essential goods by some security officials, thus complicating an already challenging period.”
According to the statement, the state taskforce on COVID-19 had noted that the prohibition of interstate travels had been consistently implemented only when state government officials were deployed to the entry points.
‘’While it is insufficient to stop the influx of persons, these exertions by senior officials were a necessary sacrifice to help reduce the chances of COVID-19 spread through interstate travels,’’ it stated.
The government revealed that some officials on boundary duty, consistently reported lacklustre or perfunctory cooperation by security agencies in enforcing the interstate travel ban.
It noted that while non-essential travel had been wantonly indulged at the state boundaries, there were reports of continued extortion by some security agents of vehicles transporting essential goods.
The statement read in part: “The conduct of such officials is also jeopardising the timely and cost-effective delivery of essential goods.
“Therefore, the Kaduna State government has directed that roadblocks at state borders be dismantled.
“Henceforth, the only roadblocks authorised within the state are those that are mounted to enforce the 8 p.m to 5 a.m curfew.”