By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory FCT Administration has decried influx of destitute into Abuja, the nation’s capital city from other states, in spite of the prevailing lockdown in the Territory and its contiguous states, aimed at containing the spread of the dreaded coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 pandemic.
Making this assertion, Minister of State for the FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, stated that the Territory is not a dumping ground, and warned of dire consequences should anyone be caught aiding and abetting such gross violations of restrictions order.
Aliyu, who spoke to yesterday while flagging off the disbursement of Covid-19 palliatives for Kwali Area Council, the second council to benefit from the scheme, charged residents to assist security agencies halt the trend, by acting as whistleblowers.
“Information got to us yesternight that trucks and pick-ups are offloading destitute at the boundaries of the FCT or in some of our suburbs. We heard there is influx of destitute into the Territory. FCT is not a dumping ground.
“This is a cry to residents both natives and non-natives, and also a cry to the royal fathers, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the League of Imams as well as civil society organizations to please blow the whistle when they see strange faces in their areas.
“There is no inter-state movement, and we don’t know how they (destitute) were able to arrive here yesterday (Tuesday). When you see a group of destitutes, please call us. We shall return them back or know what to do with them.
“But please don’t house any guests. Don’t endanger the lives of your relatives and yourself by harbouring strangers or visitors that are your relatives from another state,” she stressed.
The Minister adds: “ We will be working round the clock (24 hours) to fish them out. And most of them would be subjected to necessary tests.
“Let each state be able to shut down, and take responsibility, and see how we can urgently reduce the spread of Covid-19 to the barest minimum.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the FCT Enforcement Team, Mr. Ikharo Attah promised to ensure that security is tightened around the boundaries of the FCT, adding that those who breach the emergency regulations put in place to halt the spread of Covid-19 would be prosecuted accordingly.
According to him: “Hon. Minister of State for FCT, I want to assure you that for those people who are importing people into Abuja at this time when the boundaries have been closed, we will be tightening up our grip on the boundaries especially the filtration points to the nation’s capital city.
“We know that there would be some tears and complaints here and there, but those (people) who are in other areas (outside the FCT) should remain there, because should they come in against the directive of the FCT Administration, they would be picked up, tested and subsequently made to face the Mobile Courts.”
Available checks revealed the influx of not only destitute but butchers, many of whom had relocated to their states in the wake of the outbreak of Covid-19 in the FCT.