By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka – THE leadership of Anambra State Association of Town Unions, ASATU, frowned yesterday the influx of people from the northern parts of the country to the South East, arguing that such dumping of human beings in the zone was dangerous.
Addressing reporters at the ASATU headquarters in Awka, the national president of ASATU, Chief Alex Onukwe said communities of Anambra State were totally disappointed with what he described as the ongoing wicked efforts by some desperate citizens of Nigeria to cause disharmony among the various segments of the country.
He said: “. It is no longer news that in recent weeks, truckloads of persons, who may be carriers of COVID-19, have been intercepted by security operatives in various parts of the Southeast.
“Just yesterday (Monday), a truck with registration number MGR 148XA was intercepted here in Awka loaded with no less than 33 persons hidden in between goats. The driver of the truck said they were from Plateau State, going to Onitsha. This is completely unacceptable to Ndi Anambra and the rest of the Southeast and it must stop forthwith.
“Whosoever that is behind this wickedness must refrain from doing so immediately as the communities of Anambra State can no longer fold their hands and watch as our lives are being threatened by the mischievous inclinations of some unpatriotic citizens who can go as far as hiding human beings between animals and bags of cement or whatever and smuggle them from the northern parts of the country down to Anambra State and the Southeast.
“Whatever be the intentions of these unscrupulous individuals, we consider them most ungodly and totally unacceptable.
“Without sounding unmindful of the constitutional provisions for freedom of movement in Nigeria, we are equally expected to obey lawful directives of the federal and state governments especially, in times of emergency as in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The federal government of Nigeria had announced closure of all inter-state borders across Nigeria and banned all non-essential travels between the states in the country. These restrictions are still in force. The emergency measures have been put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the country and save lives. To this extent, the argument by some individuals that Nigerians have the right to go anywhere in Nigeria at any time is dead on arrival.
“We wish to warn that should this callous business of shipping strange persons, Almajirai or not, from the north or elsewhere to Anambra State in light of COVID-19 restrictions continue, the communities of Anambra State will be left with no choice than to confront the situation with all the seriousness it deserves. We can no longer take it as child’s play.
“Accordingly, we call on the federal government and the security agencies to urgently look deeper into this ugly situation with a view to fishing out those who perpetrate this wicked sabotage and to bring them to book and stop this ugly trend.
“We in Anambra state see the ugly trend as a well-articulated mission of some persons to cause fear and panic in the state and, in fact, to weaken the fight against COVID-19 in Anambra state and the Southeast.
“We see it as a deliberate inclination to rubbish the efforts of the governments of Anambra State and, indeed, the efforts of the governments in the Southeast to contain the spread of the deadly virus in the region. We reject this sabotage and we hope that our message is clear.”
The ASATU president, however, commended the people of Anambra State for their understanding of the unfavourable conditions they were facing as a result of covid19 restrictions, reminding them that it was more important that they stayed alive to tell the story of the horrible plague that had turned the world upside down.
He also commended the efforts of the government of Anambra State to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that state had actually gone ahead to put relevant structures on ground against the pandemic before the disease eventually arrived the state.