Emerging reports across the country are indicative that security officials including police, members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NDCDC) and taskforce officials set up by different state governments are fueling spread of the lethal coronavirus pandemic in the country. Transporters have given testimonies against the activities of this group of people along the highways. Commercial vehicle drivers are no longer afraid of entering the road to travel to anywhere in the country. The only permit they have is their ability to pay the prescribed fee by the security officials at the borders, and the gate is flung open for them. This, the officials do undermining the national border lockdown and the possibility of spreading the coronavirus.
Trailer, truck drivers and other set of drivers who ply all routes, undermine the state border lockdown pronouncement by the federal government. That is why trailers, trucks are seen on all roads, leaving people wondering whether the border is still in force or has been abrogated. All this group of drivers has continuously flouted the directive of border lockdown. Private drivers also who are not expected to cross state borders are doing so with ease and there is a huge traffic flow across states. The flow of traffic is overwhelming, all due to a corrupt security architecture in a fractured Nigeria.
Friends have reported how they traveled from Abuja to the Eastern states and from one part of Nigeria to Lagos without much stress. The only challenge is the time spent negotiating with the police and others at the borders. These people travel long distance to their different destinations unhindered. Almajiris are being transported from the far Northern states of Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Yobe, Gombe, Borno and other Northern states to the South, crossing many state borders until they are accosted in the Southern states. These Almajiris are tucked inside trailers and trucks and the drivers move them along in the pretense of carrying cows, cement and baking flour.
It is no longer news that the security men, police, civil defense officials and the taskforce empowered by the different state governments are collecting money and allowing these drivers to pass through the borders. Drivers have said that there is no fear of harassment on the road as far as they have money to pay. They can ply all routes with ease. Some pay as low as N200 and N500. Others pay N1000, N2000 and N3000 to cross the borders. The security men and taskforce officials smile home with their pockets loaded, abandoning the state governors and the people to the risk of contracting the lethal coronavirus.
It is unfortunate that Nigeria is loaded with an army of unpatriotic security officials and government appointees who care less for the people they are employed to serve but care more for their immediate gratification. They are after what will satisfy their immediate needs and let anything happen to the masses. Most of the governors are disturbed that the police are not carrying out their jobs, hence they appointed people of their states to man the borders but as it is now the state appointed members, who constitute members of the state taskforce, are more depraved, corrupt and unpatriotic than the police and civil defense officials on the road.
At the head bridge leading to Onitsha in Asaba, the Delta/Edo border in Alifikede, Agbor, Sapele/Benin through to Warri, the story is all the same. In all the states of the country, drivers ply the roads with reckless abandon. The only permission is to pay the prescribed fee and access is cleared for them to pass. This is wickedness of the highest order. These are people who swore to uphold the tenet of their assignments before the governors who appointed them in the states. Most of them do not even use the temperature test before opening the gate for the drivers to pass and enter other states.
What the drivers only do is to increase the fare of passengers knowing that they must settle the border security on the highway and the passengers are ever ready to pay double of the money as fa as they get to wherever they have in mind. This is why the coronavirus pandemic will linger for a long time in Nigeria. Coupled with the lack of trust in the Nigerian government over the poor handling of the pandemic, the disease is certainly going to be prolonged in the country and will continue to spread from state to state. The unpatriotism of the security officials and the members of the taskforce is a sure way of increasing the spread of the disease in the country. And the evidence is everywhere. On daily basis, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reels out scary figures from all over the country as number of persons affected by the disease in Nigeria.
All these are made possible through the transportation of people from the high risk states to others which are less infected. High risk states include Lagos, Abuja, Kano and a few others which have figures above 100. And as they arrive, they fall ill and increase the number of infected persons in those states. They are able to cross the borders because the security men and the taskforce in the states are corrupt and prefer N1000 to the lives of their people. This is the burden of the governors and other residents of the different states. They betray the trust reposed on them on the altar of N500 or N1000. The movement of Almajiris would have been near impossible if not for the connivance of the police and state taskforce who collect money and allow the trailer drivers to move unhindered into the Southern states.
As it is now, there is confusion on the part of the federal government on what next to do. Except the figures being released are not the true reflection of the situation as some Nigerians are insinuating, the pandemic will greatly distress the nation. But the prayer of all Nigerians is that it doesn’t get to the level of the United States of America, Italy, Spain and other western countries.