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COVID-19: Inter state transportation must stop now in Nigeria, Residents urge FG, State

By Bright Olorungbotemi

Some residents of Lafia, in Nasarawa have urged the Federal and State Governments to put in place measures to halt inter-state transportation so as to minimise the spread of the coronavirus across the country, Voiceairmedia reports.

The residents gave their opinions in separate interviews with Newsmen on Tuesday in Lafia, Nasarawa state.

Mr Andrew Akangee, Principal of Jofag International College in Lafia lauded the Federal and some State governments for shutting down schools and restricting public gathering.

He, however, added that stopping transportation of people from one state to another would  also go a long way reducing the spread of the disease across the country.

“The steps taken so far should go beyond closure of schools and worship centres.

”Inter state movement too should be curtailed because if coronavirus is in Abuja, it is likely people who are from Nasarawa to Abuja that will end up bringing it to Nasarawa and with that,  it spreads.

“Therefore, inter-state travel should be suspended. Initiallly it was from Lagos. From Lagos to Ogun. From Ogun to Abuja.

”Who knows where it will enter the next time. It is feasible because if airports are shut down, local transportation too should be shut down. This can be enforced with the use of our security agencies,” he said.

Akangee said his college like other schools had received notice from the state government to stop all academic activities by the 26th of March and would meet the deadline to reduce the risk of the disease infecting school children and their parents.

“We got the notice from the Ministry of Education, directing us to close schools from March 26, as part of efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

”We intended vacating on the 27th but even the 26th directed by the state government is still in order for us and we will ensure our students are at home by that day,” he said.

Alhaji Yusuf Nagogo, a politician in the state also threw his weight behind Akangee’s view.

According to him, there is need for  government to consider curbing the movement of persons  from state to state.

He, however, advised that in doing so,  state governments and other critical stakeholders in the transportation sector should be consulted to make the step workable.

“I think the government will make wide consultations before taking that decision, though it is the responsibility of the government to approve that kind of restriction in a situation like this.

“Restriction of movement is one of the global measures adopted to contain the virus. If our leaders feel it is appropriate to put in such a measure to contain the virus, I support the move. Let it be but those directly affected need to be carried along,” he said.

Mr Abel Abogonye, another Lafia resident said the spate of the  spread of the virus had gone  beyond just stopping inter-state transportation.

According to him, it will require proactive measures to effectively curb the spread of disease.

“I am not against that but the issue is that the development is beyond inter state because you also have to consider the intra state part.

”So, the best plan is to provide testing kits in all motor parks so that travellers are tested as they come and go from one city to another. The most important thing is the testing,” he said.

Mr Abdullahi Osanga, Former Chairman of Nasarawa United Football Club, also a resident in Lafia however rejected the idea of banning inter state transportation.

He argued that Nigerian government does not have the capacity to take care of the needs of her citizens if they are restricted to their homes.

“In advanced countries, they have a provision and the means to take good care of their citizens. Such cannot be said ofcour country, So we are just at the mercy of God,” he said.

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