Fear grips Abuja residents over influx of strange faces

By Daniel Tyokua

There is palpable fear among residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), over rise in the number of strange people that enter the territory since coronavirus lockdown started.

Checks by The AUTHORITY showed that most of the people from neighbouring states enter the nation’s capital under the pretext of less privileged begging for alms to cushion effect of the hardship caused by the COVID-19 stay-at- home order imposed by the Federal Government.

Emmanuel Uchia, a taxi driver at Guzape district of the FCT, said the activities of unknown faces coming into the city were worrisome and need to be tackled.

He said: “I can’t explain whether the people that come into Abuja these days are genuine one, it appears some of them are coming to beg for food or help from rich people.

“In my place, Guzape to AYA that links Nyanya and Mararaba, people are still going around even without anything doing. Personally I am afraid. Government should do something about it” he said.

However, in a telephone conversation with Collins Vershima, a studio owner at Zuba, an outskirt of FCT, said there should be more stringent measures for people coming in, and going out of the Federal Capital Territory.

He explained that Coronavirus pandemic order should be adhered to by all people irrespective of someone background in the society, “violating the COVID-19 pandemic rules will not go down well with us, Nigerians” he said.

Also the Federal Capital Territory , FCT, minister of state, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu had recently at a function raised the alarm over the reported influx of destitute into the territory from neighbouring states.

She warned those aiding and abetting such gross violations of containment protocols to desist from the act.

The minister urged stakeholders and residents to assist security agencies halt the trend, by acting as whistle-blowers.

She said; “Information got to us those trucks and pick-ups are offloading destitute at the boundaries of the FCT or in some of our suburbs. We heard there is influx of destitute into the Territory. FCT is not a dumping ground.

“This is a cry to residents both natives and non-natives, and also a cry to the royal fathers, the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN and the League of Imams as well as civil society organizations to please blow the whistle when they see strange faces in their areas”.

She wondered how people continue to sneak into the territory despite the lockdown in the FCT and most of the states surrounding it.

“There is no inter-state movement, and we don’t know how they (destitute) were able to arrive the city. When you see a group of destitute, please call us. We shall return them back or know what to do with them. But please don’t house any guests. Don’t endanger the lives of your relatives and yourself by harbouring strangers or visitors that are your relatives from another state.

“So, we will be working round the clock (24 hours) to fish them out. And most of them would be subjected to necessary tests.

“Let each state be able to shut down, and take responsibility, and see how we can urgently reduce the spread of Covid-19 to the barest minimum”, she added.

On his part, Chairman of the FCT Enforcement Team, Mr Ikharo Attah promised to ensure that security is tightened around the boundaries of the FCT, adding that those who breach the emergency regulations put in place to halt the spread of Covid-19 would be prosecuted accordingly.

He said; “Hon. Minister of State for FCT, I want to assure you that for those people who are importing people into Abuja at this time when the boundaries have been closed, we have tightened up our grip on the boundaries especially the filtration points to the nation’s capital city. We know that there would be some fears and complaints here and there, but those (people) who are in other areas (outside the FCT) should remain there, because should they come in against the directive of the FCT Administration, they would be picked up, tested and subsequently made to face the Mobile Courts.”

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