From Maurice Okafor, Enugu
Following reports that persons on non-essential duties have continued to traverse the boundaries of Enugu State “with the tacit support of some unscrupulous persons” despite the state government’s COVID-19 Containment Order (Executive Order No. 1 of 2020) in force, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has directed all the 17 Local Government Council Chairmen “to mobilize all Development Center Administrators, Councilors, Traditional Rulers and Presidents General of Communities as well as Neighborhood Watch Groups and Youth Leaders within their jurisdiction to man the borders of their local Government Council Areas that are contiguous with other States”.
In a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, the governor also directed the Council Chairmen “to liaise with the members of National Union of Road Transport Workers, Association of Tricycle Riders Transport Union and Okada Riders Union to ensure that intending passengers beyond Enugu State are not allowed to board vehicles in Motor Parks within their jurisdiction”.
Prof. Ortuanya added that “they are to ensure that passengers conveyed from outside the state are not allowed to disembark within their Local Government Council Areas”, disclosing that “the vehicles of erring operators will be impounded and handed over to law enforcement agents for appropriate action”.
Noting that “this condemnable conduct” compromises the current efforts of the Enugu State Government to contain the ravaging Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the statement stated that “the border control activities in all Local Government Council Areas in Enugu State that are contiguous with other states will be intensified at night-time, which is the time most of the infractions occur”.
The statement warned that “any person or group caught aiding and abetting the illegal traverse through Enugu State borders will be arrested and handed over to security agencies for prosecution”.
The SSG pointed out that these decisions were in furtherance of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s determination “as ever to contain the spread of the contagion in Enugu State and protect the residents from avoidable morbidity and mortality”.