Breaking News

INVESTIGATION: For N2000, N1700 Security Officials Help You Travel From Ondo To Osun State, Vice Versa To Breach COVID-19 Travel Ban

          By Tunde Olorungbotemi










In the early hour on Children's day, May 27th, On a Three hours trip, our reporter at Ojo-Oba, Osogbo the bus terminals in the Osogbo area of Osun state, a passenger had given all the assurances that there is commercial transportation to Akure, the capital city of Ondo State, and, in fact, vice versa back to Osun state. With a lighter mood, he dismissed the directive banning interstate travel.


With boldness he narrated how he successfully travel down to neighboring state on a daily basis for the past one week without hindrance from Security officials despite interstate traveling ban.


So, our reporter wanted to see how the restriction of movement has affected travel between Osun state and its South Western neighbours.


Across the nation, the country is in a race against time to curb the spread of the deadly virus and to rescue what they can of lives and the economy from recession.










Nigeria recorded its first Coronavirus case on February 27, 2020 and by March 30, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari had signed the “COVID-19 Quarantine Regulations” to enforce measures to check the spread of the disease in the country.


The quarantine act empowers the president to restrict movement when a “dangerous disease” breaks out in the country and on April 27, 2020, Buhari ordered a nationwide curfew from 8pm to 6am. He also banned interstate travel, sparing only those on essential services. 


Meanwhile, the presidential directives had followed recommendations by the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19, as the committee described interstate travel as one of the major causes of community transmission of the disease.


For instance, the first confirmed case in Osun state was a returning travellers and also a case confirmed had travelled from Lagos through to Ondo state.


At the time of this undercover investigation, Nigeria had only 8,733 cases and 254 deaths and 2501 recovered from the disease.


Also, the Osun state government, Governor Gboyega Oyetola and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu have ordered total lockdown of interstate traveling.










VOICEAIRMEDIA’ investigation, however, revealed that travellers have been defying the lockdown and border closure and moving between Osun and Ondo state.


They do so with the support of corrupt security officials who extort drivers and turn blind eyes to travellers.











AS LONG AS THE DRIVER IS PREPARE TO DO GIVEAWAY’


Within the hour of 6pm to 5pm only on Monday to thursday, you are free to move round Osun state while you are free to move round in Ondo state within the hour of 7am to 7pm everyday according to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu but totally ignored by residents as they work freely till day and night break in spite of the easing lockdown of the state.


On the fateful Wednesday morning after I later found out how to make the journey to Ondo state, and left Osogbo at 6.30 a.m. to Ojo-Oba where we took off.


Passengers were charged with N1200, Before now, about N1,000 or less was the charge from Osun to Ondo state and vice versa,  But driver justified the increment.

“We have to settle those security people on the road, you know, and also the number of passengers have reduced due to social distancing” he smiled.


As I waited for other passengers to arrive, the driver began telling of how they have been “doing this business” despite the restriction order by the government.

"The passenger will have to drop at Owena then walk further to board a car to Akure/Ondo State with N500"

“Also, As long as the driver is prepare and he is readily sorting those policemen on the road, you are good to go,” he said.

“We have to move before 5pm that the curfew starts,” he added.


The vehicle took seven passengers – two each on the back rows and one beside the driver, the rule of social or physical distancing was maintained completely – and we left around 7:20am, the driver, asked that we put on our masks as we zoomed off.


As we neared Owena from where Osun shares a boundary with Ondo.


The policemen at that point collect between N1500 and N1,000 from truck and lorries while commercial drivers will pay N100, N50 then you go.









Me

WITH JUST N100, YOU ARE GOOD TO GO











Next stop was that of the FRSC, and again we were freed.


Finally, we're dropped off around Owena Ondo.



After we took A car going to Akure from Owena and was surprised when one of the soldier at the boundary of Osun and Ondo gave the driver a N100 to buy newspaper while coming back from Akure.









WELCOME TO ONDO STATE

In Akure, i saw hausa men changing Nigerian naira to Dollar and Market were closed down but marketers are secretly carrying out their business transactions, VOICEAIRMEDIA learnt that Markets only open on Tuesday and Thursday in the capital city of the state.


I observed that there was no social distancing in all the places I visited and deliberately People are not using the facemasks and they're moving freely within the state.


FROM ONDO BACK TO OSUN









Things looked scanty at the usually-busy park in Akad as drivers only pick passengers going to Owena, then from there you find your bus to Ibadan, Osogbo, Lagos and others.., and also some non-uniformed and uniformed police officers were lurking around to see any vehicle boarding passengers. Well, the purpose of their presence, some of the park attendants said, was to simply extort drivers.


Some of the drivers deliberately blocked the road and ask travellers to go back to where they are coming from but,
Finally, passengers who had come are allowed to move into the car and pay N1500 quietly at the park at Owena. And then in batches of seven, then off it goes to Osogbo.


LIFE INSIDE THE CAR









A Fulani Woman was inside the car, seriously coughing and I told him to use his facemask and never to remove it even as the cough persist.

I was worried but constantly use my hand sanitizer and concentrate on the journey.


Before entering into Ilesha, we barely slowed down as the uniform men manning the road stopped the car and ask three ladies and one guy to come down out of the vehicle, he challenged them of using their face masks to cover neck instead of mouth and nose and later passed us after the driver gave him N100 with a wave of his hand.


“Safe journey,” the policemen even wished us.










HARD-WORKING POLICE OFFICERS?


N1500 TO MOVE INTO OSUN
We finally arrived Osogbo and everybody left for their respective destinations.










SMOOTH RIDE DOWN TO OSUN
It’s a free world at the Owena Ondo park where vehicles set for different interstate routes are in open display.


The CP of the police, aren't rechargeable to calls put across to him.


This digital newspaper has learnt that the inspector general of police has ordered reshuffled of Commissioner of Police in Ondo, Osun and other states across the federation.









ON RESUMING BACK TO WORK
The Editorial confirmed that the reporter had maintained all the hygiene as mandated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

_________________________
This is a special investigative project by VOICE AIR MEDIA(VAM News).










No comments

After Dropping your comment, Wait for few minutes, your comments will appear below!!!