Inter-State Lockdown: Drivers allegedly pays ‘N2000’ to gain access into Delta from Edo border

By Akpos Oghenetega,

Edo-Delta boundary at Ologboe

The much talked about inter-state lockdown may be a mirage as drivers plying the Benin – Sapele highway alleged that with the payment of N2, 000 one is granted access into Delta at the Ologbo border, which link Edo – Delta.

They alleged that the Joint Task Force, including security agencies, members of Delta State committee on COVID-19 and other relevant agencies are allegedly demanding money from them to pass through that route.

Recall that state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Saturday warned that unauthorized vehicles entering the state in violation of a restriction in inter-state movement ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari to stem the spread of COVID-19 around the country would be impounded.

He told newsmen after monitoring situations at Niger Bridge boundary between Delta and Anambra and at Alifikede, the boundary community between the state and Edo on the Benin-Asaba highway, that he was satisfied with the level of compliance with the regulation.

Governor Okowa had reminded the security agents and members of the state’s Task Force at the boundaries that only vehicles carrying agricultural products and those on essential duties should be allowed into the state.

ALSO READ: Gov Okowa  warns violators of inter-state lockdown, monitors compliance

Meanwhile, the drivers plying that route are saying the border team are more concerned about the financial return than the safety of Deltans, as many of them are allowed to pass through the route after parting with money saying, one only need N2000 to come into Delta State.

A truck driver who simply identify himself Salisu told our correspondent who visited the border today that government needs to pay more attention to what is happening at the state borders, “they are collecting money from us and as I speak to you, though I am 100 meters away from the border point, my two thousand naira is ready in my Pidgeon hole”

According to Salisu, the border team mode of operation is to send one of the task force team up-front, “he collects the money and then gives you a number and you are good to go” he said.

Another driver who craved anonymity said that the issue of payment before entering the state was no secret, “they collect money here before you will cross and sometimes after collecting money from you, they still check you and let you go, but if you refuse to pay, they delay you for the whole day, they collect N500 from small vehicles, N1500 from lorry drivers and tanker drivers pay N2, 000.

A member of the boundary task-force team was today arrested by some security men who were deployed to the border to monitor the border taskforce team after they heard complains of extortion from persons playing that route. The sum of N3, 900 was allegedly found on him as at the time of his arrest.

Our reporter who visited the boundary route saw huge security presence however; there were unrestricted movements of people and vehicles.

 

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