Gbenga Omokhunu, Sunny Nwankwo, Umuahia; Osagie Otabor, Akure and Abuja Chris Oji, Enugu
THE Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCT) in Abuja, the Abia, Enugu and Ondo State governments have arrested 148 travellers for breaching the Federal Government’s curfew and ban on interstate movement.
A breakdown of the figure shows that while the FCTA arrested 68, Abia apprehended over 40, Ondo seized 23 and Enugu intercepted 17 of the offenders.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministerial Task Team on Enforcement of COVID-19 restriction order arrested the 68 travellers as they attempted to pass through the nation’s capital from different parts of the country.
The travellers were hidden in three trucks conveying fertilisers from Edo State.
Luck ran out on them around Zuba when the task team insisted on seeing the contents of the trucks.
The travellers were consequently arraigned before Magistrate Ebiwari Damini at the Zuba Mobile Court.
The convicts are: Abdul Sani and Mukhtar Usman, both truck drivers.
In Abia State, officials of the state’s Traffic and Indiscipline Management Agency (TIMAAS) and the police said they arrested the over 40 northern youths at the Umudike Junction of Aba Road in Umuahia, the state capital.
The state agency’s operatives said they got intelligence that a truck conveying the youths was approaching the area from the Akwa Ibom State axis of the Ikot Ekpene Expressway linking Akwa Ibom and Abia states.
On sighting the truck, the officers flagged it down and inquired from the driver what he was carrying.
The driver said the truck was empty but TIMAAS officials insisted on checking the truck and discovered over 40 northern youths lying on the floor of the enclosed cargo space of the truck.
The TIMAAS officials invited the police nearby to arrest the driver and the youths.
Police Commissioner Janet Agbede interrogated the driver and the “stowaways”.
She directed that they be returned to Akwa Ibom end of the boundary from where they entered Abia State.
In Akure, the Ondo State capital, Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) on Ilesha-Akure road intercepted the 23 travellers for flouting the interstate restriction order of the Federal Government.
The offenders were found in a truck from the North.
Driver of the truck, who spoke in Hausa language and gave his name simply as Adamu, said he was asked to drop the 23 travellers in the town.
Also, Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led a team of security personnel and state officials, on Tuesday night, to enforce the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed across the country by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Apart from some deviant residents who were caught driving during the curfew, the governor’s team intercepted a trailer-load of cattle with 17 men hidden on the floor of the vehicle.
The trailer was forced to stop at the Emene axis of Enugu around 9 p.m.
During interrogation, the 17 men and the driver of the vehicle claimed they were cattle traders returning from Bauchi State.
The governor expressed surprise that such a high number of persons found their way into the state under the pretence of transporting cattle.