Some residents of Karu near Abuja on Wednesday called on the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to curb the influx of violators of lockdown from Nasarawa State axis.
The residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Mararaba that the increasing influx of people, mostly at night, from the neighbouring Nasarawa state into Abuja during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could have adverse consequences.
They, therefore, urged the FCTA to review its security strategies to ensure effective closure of its boundaries with neighbouring states to checkmate the further spread of the disease.
The respondents also advised the administration to be proactive in its response to stop the influx.
Mr Abbas Elkanem, a cab driver, told NAN it has become imperative for the FCTA to intensify its security checks and tighten all the loopholes to avoid people with COVID-19 sneaking into the territory.
He noted that there are 15 existing “inner roads from Nasarawa state into Abuja”, but the enforcement task force was only at one point.
Elkanem said that most people trooped in at night and most of them usually do not pass through the regular checkpoint to avoid the usual security checks.
“I am talking authoritatively as a driver; we know all the corners and inner roads from Nasarawa state into Abuja.
“Under this lockdown, I will take anybody from Nasarawa state into Abuja through the inner roads so long the person is ready to pay,’’ he said.
A check conducted by NAN identified some of the inner roads from Nasarawa state into Abuja as Karu market, Cemetery, Abattoir, Gagawa, Nyannya market, Kugbo and Timber shade, among others.
The investigation also revealed that even though some of the roads are rough and some are not too motorable, yet most drivers manoeuvre their ways to beat the control post.
Another driver told NAN on condition of anonymity that even though the roads are very rough, but he preferred to ply them to avoid the long queues at the checkpoint.
He said there are time commuters would be in the hold up for over two hours and in the end, the security operatives would turn you back without allowing you to cross over to Abuja.
NAN also observed the influx of motorcyclists popularly known as okada on the roads.
One of the Okada riders, Malam Abdulmumin, said it is a brisk business and picking a passenger from Nyanya to Kugbo avoiding the security check will cost N300 as against N100.
Abdulmumin said he makes more than 20 trips in a day once there are passengers because of his familiarity with all the free routes for okada riders.
Malam Abubakar Pategi, a driver, also disclosed that many people still travel without respecting government directive and expert advice.
He said some of the vehicles going to places like Keffi, Lafia and Makurdi still carry overloads and without any protective measures.
Pategi claimed that most of the drivers bribed their ways from one checkpoint to another till they get to their final destinations to the detriment of the passengers that would pay the hiked fare and contravened the system.
He, therefore, urged the government to arrest the situation to ensure that we do not lose the health gains achieved.
Pategi also advised security operatives at all checkpoints to adhere strictly to the rules guiding interstate movements to ensure that “the actions we take today, however necessary, don’t become a danger to us tomorrow”.
A resident of Tipper garage in Mararaba told NAN on condition of anonymity that a lot of people still travel against government instructions without adherence to the measures.
The source noted that government should focus attention on the garages around Karu, Nyanya and Marraaba axis to ensure strict adherence by commuters to reduce social interaction and ensure physical distancing measures in order to prevent the transmission COVID-19.
NAN reports that as of April 22, the country’s airports remain closed, although emergency and essential flights, such as cargo transportation, are allowed to operate.
Also, lockdowns are currently in effect across the states of the federation as part of measures to contain coronavirus.