Senate Directs Probe of Violation of Ban on Interstate Movement


Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Senate yesterday charged the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, and the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abdullahi Muhammadu, to probe the alleged involvement of their officers and men in the breach of the interstate lockdown ordered by the federal government.

It also strongly condemned the apparent breach of the presidential order on overnight curfew and ban on non-essential interstate travels aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Upper Chamber further called on the two security chiefs to ensure full cooperation of their various commands with respective state authorities in enforcing the presidential orders and other protocols aimed at rolling back the COVID-19 pandemic.

It enjoined Nigerians to strictly comply with the orders for their own safety and to quicken the country’s victory over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate equally directed the IG and Commandant-General of the Corps as well as heads of all security agencies charged with enforcing the ban on interstate travel “to investigate the alleged complicity of their officers in the breach of the curfew and ban on non-essential interstate travels and bring to book anyone found wanting.”

The Senate also called on the two security chiefs to ensure that their various commands cooperate with respective state authorities in enforcing the presidential orders and other protocols aimed at rolling back the pandemic.

These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion on ‘Need to Enforce Presidential Order Banning Non-Essential Interstate Movement’, sponsored by former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, at plenary.

Leading the debate on the motion, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment expressed concern at the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, which he said currently stood at 4,641 and 150 deaths as well as the daily confirmed cases, which he noted was now in hundreds.

He said: “The Senate is aware that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his wisdom and relying on advisories by relevant authorities and powers conferred on him by Section 3 of the Quarantine Act, CAP Q2 Laws of the Federation 2004, issued the Proclamation Order on the General Management of COVID-19 banning non-essential inter-state passenger travel until further notice in order to contain the deadly novel coronavirus.

“The Senate is also aware of the presidential order declaring dusk-to-dawn curfew all over the country. The Senate is, therefore, seriously worried by the numerous reports and trending videos on the flagrant breach of the curfew and interstate travel.”

He recalled that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had raised the alarm over what it described as “increased level of interstate movement, worsened by the dubious concealment of people in vehicles carrying foods,” while the Nigeria Governors’ Forum had equally raised serious concerns over how Nigerians crisscross the country in their numbers despite the subsisting order to the contrary.

“The Senate is therefore conscious of the very grave implications of the brazen breach of the presidential order restricting interstate movements and of the fact that the country’s security agencies, particularly the police, have the responsibility to enforce law and order, including the presidential ban on interstate movement,” the senator said.

Contributing, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, noted that “there is need for proper enforcement of the restrictions on interstate travels. Apparently, there is so much breach and interference. We need to seat up because this is a very serious challenge to our country.”