Delta taskforce impounds 6,000 trucks for violating inter- state movement ban

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TRACKING____Cement trucks, operated by Dangote Cement Plc, deliver supplies to the construction site for the Eko Atlantic city project, developed by Eko Atlantic, near Victoria island in Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. Eko Atlantic city is an area of land reclaimed from the Atlantic ocean being developed into 10 million square meters of real estate. Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

The Delta state taskforce monitoring compliance with the ban on inter-state movement on Tuesday night, impounded 6,000 trucks/ trailers for violating the lockdown order on inter- state movement at the Asaba-Onitsha Head Bridge.

In what appears to be a mild drama, drivers of the trucks and trailers literarily abandoned their vehicles to embrace bread sellers who cashed in on their predicament to sell their food items at fixed prices.

It was gathered that the state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa had on Monday in company of the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chiedu Ebie, visited the head bridge on intelligence gathering over allegations of corrupt practices by security agents.

But to his chagrin, the security agencies were found wanting and had allegedly opened the flood gate, allowing truck/trailer drivers free passage into Anambra and other states after monetary inducement.

Okowa was alleged to have ordered the taskforce set in the state to monitor activities of transportation, among others, to as a matter of urgency, take charge.

It was further gathered that the governor allegedly ordered the police and other security agencies to be on standby, prompting the taskforce to swing into action to enforce the lockdown order.

Investigation revealed that the truck/ trailer drivers had allegedly unsuccessfully made several attempts during the night to offer the taskforce members bribes.

Confirming this incident, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, who spoke to our correspondent on phone, said: “We are working with the order from Mr. President and it will be out of place to allow all the so called truck/ trailer drivers to drive through the head bridge,

“The Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa was embarrassed when he visited the head bridge and discovered outright corrupt practices by the security agencies, and he ordered the taskforce members to take charge.

“All the vehicles impounded will be parked somewhere and the drivers will be prosecuted. We are very interested in the well-being of Deltans and we must adhere strictly to the lockdown order.”

Although, the Police Commissioner in the state, Hafiz Inuwah, denied the allegations of corrupt practices among the security agencies, however assured the commitment of the police to enforce the lockdown order by Mr. President.

“We are doing our best and I am not aware of any corrupt practices among the agencies. The governor’s purported directive that taskforce members should join us, was to complement the efforts of the police and other agencies,” he added.

Some of the drivers who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymityz alleged that the taskforce members collected N2,000 each before pushing them out, adding that they had pleaded with the tasknforce members to allow drive through the head bridge to no avail.

A driver, Chukwunoso Okafor said:” We sleep on the road with the taskforce members and we will continue to stay here until they release us to go back or go through the head bridge. They collected money from us and still impounded our vehicles.”

In a swift reaction, the Director General, of the taskforce, Mr. Idah described the allegation of bribery as untrue, adding thet “over 6,000 trucks/ trailers were impounded and the drivers will be prosecuted. We are not going to release the vehicles to them.”

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