Cross River State government on Thursday ordered five truckloads of almajiris including other passengers from the northern part of Nigeria back to its destination.
It was learned that a border patrol team, comprising of Peace Corp members, civilian Vigilantes, Border COVID-19 Taskforce had intercepted the trucks yesterday night at the Gakem border town in Bekwara LGA of the state near Benue State.
The team was led by a Commissioner who said it was the result of intensive search and blockade of interstate vehicular travels, which his team was poised to enforce.
“After a thorough check on the five trucks we discovered that most of the passengers, aside goods, were almajiris who did not meet COVID19 protocols, we had to force them to return,” he said.
The commissioner appealed to the Chairman of COVID 19 to visit the truck parks in the state and caution their drivers against indulging in conveying almajiris who have not been isolated.
State security adviser, Dr Alfred Mboto said his officers at the scene have briefed him about the development.
“We got a report from our security and taskforce teams at the Garkem border town yesterday night that trucks carrying large number of children from the north alleged to be almajiris were intercepted after thorough check, and have been turned back,” Mboto said.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to Governor Ayade on Media & Publicity, Mr Christian Ita said it was never about their destination or region but the order to return to where they were coming from was purely COVID-19 protocol.
Ita said: ” Cross River is not the first state ordering people to return to where they were coming from, but it’s simply about the following protocol. We are not sure about these people, we had to turn them back.
“It’s not about the north or their region we simply don’t know their status and as such, we had to follow standard procedure by telling to return to where they were coming from,” he said.