By Victor Ogunje
For flouting the restriction placed on interstate movements due to the spread of Covid-19, a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Ekiti State has convicted four persons for sneaking into the state from Lagos.
The convicts — Afolabi Shuaib, Daramola Sulaimon, Ibe Gregory and Adeniyi Idowu — were arrested at Igbara Odo border while on their way from Lagos.
Passing the verdict, the Ado Ekiti Chief Magistrate’s Court found them guilty of defying the interstate lockdown and subsequently convicted them.
The court presided over by Mr Abdulhamid Lawal, convicted and imposed a fine of N30,000 on Shuaib, the driver of the truck which conveyed them from Lagos.
The three passengers who hid inside the truck were also convicted and bagged a fine of N10,000 each for violating government order on restriction of movement across borders.
Igbara Odo, the town where they were arrested, is located in Ekiti Southwest Local Government Area and shares boundary with Ondo State and is also not far from another boundary with Osun State.
Lawal, in his ruling, said that Lagos is the epicentre of coronavirus in Nigeria and Alaba market is a hot spot of possible spread of the virus.
The prosecutor, Mr Clement Ayoola, the Director of Evaluation and Monitoring Department in the Ministry of Justice, told the court that the defendants were nabbed at Igbara Odo while attempting to illegally enter Ekiti while hiding inside the truck.
He said that the driver converted his truck with the registration number EPE 964 LP to a commercial vehicle and transported the other defendants from Alaba Market in Lagos State to Ekiti State.
The prosecutor noted that the offence is contrary to the provision of Regulation 2 (1) (a) punishable under Regulation 12 of the Ekiti State Coronavirus (Prevention of Infection) Regulations 1-4, 2020 made pursuant to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap Q2, LFN, 2004.
All the defendants, however, pleaded guilty to the three-count charge, thereby not wasting the time of the court.