Police Task Force: Rivers’ traditional rulers ask Buhari to call IGP to order

Police Task Force: Rivers’ traditional rulers ask Buhari to call IGP to order

Saturday, May 16, 2020 6:26 pm

Rivers Traditional Rulers Council Chairman, HRM King Jaja of Opobo, Dandison Douglas Jaja,Jeki V. while during a press conference at their Secretariat in Port Harcourt

Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
Traditional rulers in Rivers on Saturday raised alarm about the Joint Technical Task Force saddled with the responsibility of ensuring unhindered movement of agricultural products into the state, which, according to them, was set up by Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu.
The traditional rulers, who asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Inspector General of Police to order over the Task Force, warned that it can  jeopadise efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the State.
It will be recalled that Rivers Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan had inaugurated  the Task Force on  free movement and transportation of foodstuffs, livestock and agricultural inputs into Rivers during the lockdown on Thursday.

The Police Commissioner said inauguration of the Joint Technical Task Force was sequel to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, that there should unhindered interstate movements of food items across the country, in spite of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic,

Mukan had said that with the set up of the Task Force,  there should be free movement and transportation of foods and goods into Rivers State throughout the period of the lockdown.

Personnel from Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Nigeria Union of Journalist as well as  representatives from Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development were members of the task force.

But the Rivers State Government was not represented.

The non inclusion of Rivers State Government had raised fears that the Task Force may not receive the support of Governor Wike who had repeatedly complained that persons with dubious COVID-19 status were being transported into the State in the guise of livestock and agricultural products from the Northern part of the country.
While opposing the police task force, Rivers State traditional rulers  through  their Chairman, HRM King Jaja of Opobo, Dandison Douglas Jaja at a press  conference in Port Harcourt said the action of the IGP has voided the order by President Buhari that restricted inter-state travels to curb the spread Coronavirus from one state to another.
According to them, unhindered movements of agricultural products at the instance of Federal Ministry of Agriculture into the state will also lead to transportation of persons whose health status are unknown to Rivers.

The traditional rulers added that the action of IGP will jeopardize Rivers State Governor’s fight to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
They also queried  where the IGP derived the powers to override  Governors like Nyesom Wike as Chief Security Officer of the State, with full responsibility to protect lives and property of the people and in their states.
“We are informed that in spite  of Presidential Order restricting interstate movement of trucks and other vehicles other than those essential services, the IGP has unilaterally lifted the ban and proceeded to set up Technical Taskforce on the movement of Agricultural products to provide free unhindered movements of food without passengers.
“Why should the Joint Technical Task force begin with Rivers State and to the exclusion of Government of Rivers State while the Presidential ban in order to check Covid-19 pandemic is in force. How much Agricultural activities requiring large scale input, including livestock are located in Rivers State?
“Why is Rivers State being singled out for pollution and annihilation by the possibility of escalation of Covid-19 pandemic? Why should the IGP set up a Taskforce without the knowledge, collaboration and participation and consultation  of the Rivers State Government.
“Is the Technical Taskforce backed by any law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria outside the Constitution? What is the motive of the Isolation policy which we believe lacks any legal  or constitutional back backing”.
The Traditional Rulers expressed fears that even if the intention was to ensure the movement of food, livestock and Agricultural equipment, the process could encourage massive influx of possible bandits,terrorists and Covid-19 infected persons to endanger the lives of the people.
The traditional rulers therefore called on President Buhari to quickly intervene, arguing that the policy is not only hasty, but appears to be targeted at Rivers People.

Join The Conversation

One Comment

  • Deltex says:

    All they care is covid 19 and not whether people are dieing of hunger.The IGP is right and l support him.politicians should live the masses out of their games.This so called man has he gone outside to see there is no food stuffs in rivers state.This heartlessness of him.

  • What do you think?

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.