TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministerial Enforcement Task-team on Covid-19 Restrictions has apprehended 29 commercial motorcycle operators, popularly known as ‘Okada’ Riders, who were travelling in a truck from Lafia in Nasarawa state to Lagos.
The truck with registration Number LFA 837 ZX was intercepted at the AYA Bridge in Asokoro District of the FCT.
Samaila Samiya, the truck driver said, he was carrying fine stones used for making marbles and tiles was loaded in Taraba state and heading to Lagos, but that on getting to Lafia, he decided to pick the passengers after they pleaded to pay the sum of N2,000 per person.
One of the passengers, Musa Simon also said that they are commercial motorcycle operators who had left Lagos in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown and are returning to resume work following threats by the motorcycle owners that they would sell off the motorcycles should they fail to resume work.
While addressing newsmen at the Eagle Square where those apprehended were arraigned before a Mobile Court, the Chairman of the Taskteam , Comrade Ikharo Attah said that, “despite the series of arrests, prosecution and turning back of violators by the FCT Administration, many persons are yet to fully comply with the Presidential directive on interstate travel ban”.
He said that, “Just when one feels there is enough arrest to deter people, many more would continue to move and traverse state borders.
According to him, “We in the Enforcement Team are very saddened by the way human dignity is trampled upon. How can the driver load passengers in a truck carrying stones to Lagos which is highly uncomfortable for the human body? We have seen also where persons are transported in between bags of beans, onions, fertilizers and even cement. In very sad cases, some even hide under cattle to evade arrest. Even the driver of the truck admitted that he cannot allow any member of his family to be transported in such manner.”
He continued; the truck and all its non-human contents would be impounded until the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.
The men were arraigned before Magistrate Idayat Akonni who found them guilty and ruled that the truck be impounded. The driver was awarded a fine of N3,000 while the court ruled that all the occupants of the truck be sent back to their point of departure.