The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, expressed concern over the poor enforcement of the Federal Government’s ban on interstate travels to curtail the spread of the pandemic, COVID-19.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his last nationwide broadcast had relaxed his proclamation on lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory, Ogun and Lagos State while directing that the ban on interstate movement should continue to be enforced.
But the President of the Senate while reacting to a motion, “Need to enforce Presidential Order banning Interstate Movement”, sponsored by the senator representing Enugu West, Ike Ekweremadu noted that security agencies have been conniving with lawless individuals to observe the presidential order in the breach.
He said the trend could complicate the serious health challenge facing the country and ultimately, frustrate the efforts of the National Centre for Disease Control and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He said: “There is need for total enforcement on the ban on interstate travels. Apparently, there is so much breach, and it appears like our security agencies who are supposed to enforce this, in most cases appear to look helpless. They need to sit up.
“This is a very serious health challenge to our country, but beyond interstate, even the observance of social distancing, hygiene and other protocols sometimes suffer inside the states.
“I think it is very important that citizens do this because it is for our sake. The government cannot be without citizens, and it is important at this point that we do this for our sake and that of our family members.”
Earlier in his presentation, the former Deputy Senate President said available statistics on the number of COVID-19 cases which stands at 4,641 cases and 150 deaths should give cause for concern.
Senator Ekweremadu noted that despite President Buhari order for the ban on non-essential interstate passenger travels until further notice, based on advisories by relevant authorities, the security agencies have made the proclamation infantile.
He said he was seriously worried by the numerous reports and trending videos on the flagrant breach of the curfew and interstate travel.
The former deputy senate president said he was aware that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has raised alarm over what it described as ”Increased level of interstate movement, worsened by the dubious concealment of people in food-carrying vehicles”;
He added that, “the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has equally raised serious concerns over the way Nigerians crisscross the country in their numbers despite the subsisting order to the contrary.”
Ekweremadu emphasised that there must be a wake-up call on “the IGP and Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and heads of all security agencies charged with enforcing the ban on interstate travel to investigate the alleged complicity of their officers in the breach of the curfew and ban on non-essential interstate travels and bring to book anyone found wanting.”
He submitted that “the nation’s security agencies, particularly the police, have the responsibility to enforce law and order, including the presidential ban on interstate movement.”
The Senate in its resolutions called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and heads of all security agencies charged with enforcing the ban on interstate travel to investigate the alleged complicity of their officers in the breach of the curfew and ban on interstate travels and bring to book anyone found wanting.
It also called on the Inspector-General of Police and the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to fully enforce presidential orders on curfew and ban on non-essential interstate travel as well as ensure that their various commands cooperate with respective State authorities in enforcing the presidential orders and other protocols aimed at rolling back the COVID-19 pandemic.