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Published On: Mon, May 4th, 2020

COVID-19: FCTA begins easing lockdown, goes tough on interstate travellers

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By Stanley Onyekwere

Nightmarish experiences await interstate travellers as the FCT Administration vows to beef up enforcement of the guidelines regulating the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown in the FCT, starting today.
In particular, the FCT Administration warned that anybody who flouts the directives of government would be arrested, and made to face the full wrath of the law.
Our correspondent reports that the FCT Administration and security agencies had at the weekend reviewed their strategies on enforcing the ban on interstate travel and have adopted new ones to ensure its complete compliance.
It was gathered that the meeting was Explaining this tough stance, the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who presided over the FCT Security Committee meeting, attended by heads of the various military, para-military and intelligence organisations in the FCT as well as senior officials of the FCTA on Saturday, said the hardline approach to the prevailing situation was to minimise the risks of the reopening of the society, in the wake of the dreaded COVID-19.
Bello disclosed that security agencies will deploy additional personnel and resources to all the entry points using coordinated joint teams to be headed by very senior officers to ensure that the enforcement of the directive is carried out totally while being conscious of those that are permitted to move around.
“I must caution and warn that anybody who, for any reason, flouts the directives of government and is arrested, the full wrath of the law will fall on that person, because we will not allow a few citizens who are not conscious of the wellbeing of the majority of other citizens to put all of us at risk.
“The directives are very clear. Offices are open for specific categories of staff on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and within a specific time range of 8.00am to 2.00pm. So, my advice is anybody who has no reason to come out based on these directives should just stay at home.
“We have been at home for about four weeks now, another few weeks would do us good because if we are able to maintain the level of the virus in the FCT the way it has been maintained during the last few weeks, then by the grace of God Almighty, we will get over this.
“We realized that one weak area that has confronted us is the fact that enforcement of the inter-state movement has not been very successful and that’s an area where if we are not very careful, will make it very difficult for us to prevent infection by people who are visiting the FCT from other parts of the country.
“By the same token also, if the enforcement is not very strong, infected people from the FCT will also move out to other states. At the end of the day, nationally, we all lose.
“The ultimate objective of the FCTA and the security agencies is to safeguard the lives of the citizens of the FCT and by extension, the citizens of the surrounding states as well as Nigerians in general”, the Minister was quoted in a statement from his Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye.

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