Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike yesterday effected the arrest of 14 persons hidden in two trailers conveying cattle from Adamawa State to Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike said that the trailers were intercepted following a tip off from well-meaning Nigerians, that some of them were making their way into Port Harcourt. They were arrested at Rumuigbo in Obio/Akpor Local Government area of the state. Governor Wike ordered the prosecution of the 14 persons by the mobile court constituted under the Executive Order 6 signed towards the fight against COVID-19 in the state. He also directed the State Ministry of Health to conduct tests on the 14 persons to ascertain their coronavirus status.
“This fight has nothing to do with individuals. The law must take its course. You are aware of what is happening and then some people want to illegally smuggle persons into the state. Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor are under lockdown and the law must be obeyed. The trailers and the cows will be auctioned tomorrow”, he declared. Governor Wike said that the arrest of the trailers has vindicated him. He said that the security agencies have failed the people of Rivers State as they collect money and allow defaulters to slip through the border.
“You heard them saying that they gave money to the security agencies before they were allowed to cross the border. The owner of the cattle in a phone interview said they have fallen short of the law”, he said. The governor said that people must be alive to eat cow; hence, the lockdown to protect the lives of Rivers people.
He decried the level of desperation to smuggle people into Rivers, saying that the state government would remain vigilant, despite the challenges it is facing. One of the defaulters, Ahmed Aliyu, said that they were contracted from Adamawa State to bring cattle to one Alhaji in Oyigbo area of the state. He said that he thought that the lockdown will start by 10pm. He alleged that they were allowed into the state after they bribed security personnel with N1500. Meanwhile, the Port Harcourt mobile courts sitting at General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, have convicted 170 persons for violating the lockdown of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs.