The Kwara State command of the Nigeria police said it has confiscated over 600 motorcycles within a week of enforcing the sit-at-home directive.
The directive was aimed at curbing the surge of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus.
The police spokesperson in the state, Peter Okasanmi, disclosed the figures in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday morning.
“In the last one week, we have done so much to make them sit at home. We have confiscated 600-700 motorcycles from all these riders.”
Mr Okasanmi said the commercial motorcyclists, popular addressed as Okada riders, constitute a larger percentage of the challenges faced by the law enforcement agents.
He noted that despite the efforts of the police and other security operatives, some individuals and religious organisations defy the directives.
PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, reported how two Islamic clerics in Offa, a town in the state, were arrested by security operatives after convening the Jumat prayers.
The clerics held the Jumat service in a mosque situated at Lamodi area, Adeleke Road, in Offa with scores of worshippers in attendance.
Our correspondent, who witnessed the arrest, observed that the law enforcement agents stormed the mosque vicinity at about 1 p.m. when they had concluded the prayers.
Later in the evening, the clerics were released.
Reacting to this, the police spokesperson decried the nonchalance of some of the residents.
“We don’t want any congregation of any type. Anybody found congregating for whatever reasons, whether religious or any other reason, is going against the order. And we are on ground to enforce that order,” he said.
” We have the order of the Inspector General of Police and commissioner of police that ordinarily, bailable offences should not be brought to the police because we need to decongest the cells.
We are trying to enforce the sit-at-home in the very civilised way we can,” he told our reporter.
Meanwhile, speaking on the efforts of the state’s taskforce, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, said the state government is not weary of appealing to the residents.
“You know we deal with human beings and human beings are dynamic. Even some persons, no matter how grievous a situation is, they will not abide by the order. But our approach is to continue to appeal to people to abide by the directive because those directives are not to punish anybody,” he disclosed when contacted on Saturday.
Africa should adopt a structured lockdown– CSO
Meanwhile, a group has said African nations are incapable of managing a total lockdown for weeks.
It rather called for a ‘structured lockdown’.
Many African nations are enforcing lockdowns to curb the spread of coronavirus.
But the group, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) in a press statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, said Africa and other third world nations should only implement COVID-19 preventive measures “that are sensitive to their own peculiarities, to avert tragedies that could trigger some unintended calamities.”
“The Haves cannot ask the Have-nots to stay at home without food; therefore, Nigeria, Africa and other third world nations must quickly review their total lockdown measures, in line with their socioeconomic realities to avert the rage and war of the poor.
“You cannot tell a hungry father to watch his hungry family dying in their room just like that and do nothing, and for no fault of theirs, and because of a virus that has not locked down their hands and legs,” said CDNDC in a statement by its convener, Ariyo-Dare Atoye.
“We are appealing to the leaderships in Nigeria and other African countries to immediately fashion out the best possible strategies to implement a structured lockdown, which can include structured working/marketing hours and days, with massive sanitisation/fumigation of these markets, clustered businesses, the streets, while insisting the people comply reasonably with the social distancing and handwashing measures.
“Subsequently, and after the first 14 days of managing a structured lockdown, government should consider recruiting, training and deploying monitoring and enforcement officers to implement these preventive measures which could be stringent and friendly, in motor parks, business complexes, markets and other areas.
“Certainly, Africa and other third world countries are not the same level and development trajectory with the First and Second World Nations; we do not have the infrastructure, economy and the might to cope with, and address the challenges that come with a total lockdown as a preventive mechanism against the spread of COVID-19.
“Majority of the people living in developing countries are very poor, needy, dislocated and cannot afford beyond what they can strive to get daily; worse still, the preponderance of evidence available suggest that these daily incomes and opportunities are not even regular and too little.”
It added, “if COVID kills in thousands, hunger will kill in millions, but people who are hungry cannot even wait for that to happen or watch each other dying and doing nothing, because the rich and the haves have asked the poor to stay at home without food.
“Therefore, the leaderships in Nigeria and Africa must come face to face with the grim reality of a likely spontaneous and massive resistance and an unmitigated rage of the poor if this lockdown goes beyond what the people can bear,” said CDNDC in the statement.
As at the time of filing this report, Nigeria has confirmed 210 cases of the pandemic across 13 states.
Lagos State still tops the chart with the highest number of cases in the country.
A breakdown of states where cases have been confirmed indicate that Lagos now has 109 cases, followed by FCT – 41, Osun -22, Oyo – 8, Akwa Ibom – 5, Ogun – 4, Edo- 7, Kaduna – 4, Bauchi – 3, Enugu – 2, and Ekiti – 2. Ondo, Rivers and Benue have one case.
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