The Commissioner for Information in Akwa Ibom State, Charles Udoh, has raised alarm over the alleged involvement of security operatives in the violation of the ban on interstate travel.
The ban was put in place in place by the federal and state governments to halt the spread of coronavirus.
“The attention of the Akwa Ibom State Government has been drawn to a disturbing trend whereby security operatives indulge in the illegal use of their personal cars, and in some cases official vehicles, to transport passengers through our entry points into the state,” Mr Udoh said in a statement on Monday.
“This act is highly condemnable and unprofessional, especially against the backdrop of the current nationwide ban on interstate travel occasioned by the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Henceforth, all vehicles coming into the state; including security vehicles and those driven or owned by security personnel, will be subjected the prescribed COVID-19 entry points protocols. All service commanders in the state have been duly informed of this emerging trend,” Mr Udoh said.
Akwa Ibom has 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of June 10, while the total confirmed cases in Nigeria is 13,873.
The commissioner did not mention any specific security agency in his statement.
The police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, Nudam Fredrick, told PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday, that “the police as a very responsible organisation would never in any way circumvent the ban on movement of persons outside or into the state, people who are not on essential duty.”
Mr Fredrick, a chief superintendent of police, said police officers who travel from Akwa Ibom to other states are on essential duty.
He said the allegation of police involvement in such an unlawful act was, therefore, unfounded.
PREMIUM TIMES, last month, reported how massive movement of people across the states in Nigeria, despite the ban on interstate travel may very well be an indictment on the nation’s internal security system.
Other newspapers have also reported on how police and other security officials were cashing in on the ban to extort from Nigerians desperate to travel from one state to the other.
The Senate, worried by the development, had passed a resolution in May calling on the police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to investigate the alleged complicity of their officers.
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