By Bushrah Kaffi, Yakubu Temitope & Adams Akorede
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministerial Enforcement Task-team on Covid-19 Restrictions, on Tuesday, arrested 29 commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada Riders, who were travelling in a truck from Nasarawa State to Lagos State.
The truck with Number Plate LFA 837 ZX was intercepted at the AYA Bridge in Asokoro District of the territory.
They were later arraigned before Magistrate Idayat Akonni at Eagle Square who found them guilty and ruled that the truck be impounded, while the driver was awarded a fine of N3,000 and all the occupants of the truck be sent back to their point of departure.
While addressing newmen before a Mobile Court, the Chairman of the Taskteam team, Ikharo Attah said: “Despite the series of arrests, prosecution and turning back of violators by the FCT administration, many persons are yet to fully comply with the Presidential directive on interstate travel ban.
“Just when one feels there is enough arrest to deter people, many more would continue to move and traverse state borders.
“We in the Enforcement Team are very saddened by the way human dignity is trampled upon. How can the driver load passengers in a truck carrying stones to Lagos which is highly uncomfortable for the human body? We have seen also where persons are transported in between bags of beans, onions, fertilizers and even cement. In very sad cases, some even hide under cattle to evade arrest. Even the driver of the truck admitted that he cannot allow any member of his family to be transported in such manner.
“The truck and all its non-human contents would be impounded until the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.” He declared.
Also speaking, the driver of the truck, Samaila Samiya said he was coming from Taraba State and when got to Lafia, Nasarawa State Capital, he decided to pick the passengers after they pleaded to pay the sum of N2,000.
The truck, according to him, was carrying fine stones used for making marbles and tiles loaded in Taraba State and heading to Lagos States.
One of the passengers, Musa Simon said they were commercial motorcyclists who had left Lagos State in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown and were going back to resume work due to the threats by the motorcycle owners that they would sell off the motorcycles if they refused to resume work.