Written by Sarah NEGEDU
COVID-19:FCTA raise alarm over influx of destitute
The Federal Capital Territory FCT Administration has promised to deal decisively with destitutes found making their way into the nation's capital during the current restriction of movement being observed in the territory.
The Minister of State for FCT, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, who raised the alarm over the reported influx of destitute into the territory from neighbouring states in spite of the current lockdown in the FCT and its contiguous states, maintained that the territory is not a dumping ground.
Aliyu who warned of the consequences should anyone be caught aiding and abetting such gross violations of containment protocols, urged stakeholders and residents to assist security agencies halt the trend, by acting as whistleblowers.
Aliyu gave the charge yesterday while flagging off the disbursement of Covid-19 palliatives for Kwali Area Council, the second council to benefit from such gesture out of the six Area Councils of the FCT.
She said; "Information got to us yesternight that trucks and pick-ups are offloading destitute at the boundaries of the FCT or in some of our suburbs. We heard there is influx of destitute into the Territory. FCT is not a dumping ground.
"This is a cry to residents both natives and non-natives, and also a cry to the royal fathers, the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN and the League of Imams as well as civil society organizations to please blow the whistle when they see strange faces in their areas."
She wondered how people continue to sneak into the territory despite the lockdown in the FCT and most of the states surrounding it.
"There is no inter-state movement, and we don't know how they (destitute) were able to arrive here yesterday. When you see a group of destitutes, please call us. We shall return them back or know what to do with them. But please don't house any guests. Don't endanger the lives of your relatives and yourself by harbouring strangers or visitors that are your relatives from another state.
"So, we will be working round the clock to fish them out. And most of them would be subjected to necessary tests.
"Let each state be able to shut down, and take responsibility, and see how we can urgently reduce the spread of Covid-19 to the barest minimum", she added.
Responding, Chairman of the FCT Enforcement Team, Mr Ikharo Attah, promised to ensure that security is tightened around the boundaries of the FCT, adding that those who breach the emergency regulations put in place to halt the spread of Covid-19 would be prosecuted accordingly.
He said; "Hon. Minister of State for FCT, I want to assure you that for those people who are importing people into Abuja at this time when the boundaries have been closed, we will be tightening up our grip on the boundaries especially the filtration points to the nation's capital city. We know that there would be some tears and complaints here and there, but those (people) who are in other areas (outside the FCT) should remain there, because should they come in against the directive of the FCT Administration, they would be picked up, tested and subsequently made to face the Mobile Courts."
The Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu had last week warned against night traveling, promising to deploy policemen on night patrol to halt the trend.