There was panic in Edo State on Wednesday as security operatives intercepted a truckload of goods but which also had 60 Northerners hidden in it; amid rising coronavirus cases in the state.
According to information reliably gathered by Global Times, the truck was coming from Kano State and was intercepted at Ekpoma.
The truck was intercepted by a joint security operatives team led by the Edo State Taskforce on COVID-19.
Test conducted on the smuggled passengers shows that 15 out of the 60 passengers tested positive for the deadly virus, a source told Global Times.
“A call was immediately placed to the LG chairman of Esan Central and West who in turn called the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who ordered that all the passengers should be taken to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH).”
The truck driver after apprehension confessed to the taskforce that some of his passengers already highlighted at Okpella and Auchi, near Edo.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, who confirmed the development to Global Times in a statement, said they were actually 75 travellers.
“The driver of the truck with registration number LSF 679 XZ, John Monday, said he had just finished delivering his goods and decided to pick up the passengers who he charged between N500 and N700 on his way from Kano State en-route Ogun State.
“The management of the ISTH are screening and testing them. We are communicating and exchanging reports. The essence is to screen these persons and get them tested after which they will be allowed back into their truck to continue their journey and Police officers will escort them out of the state.”
He said another 26 travellers in a truck were stopped at AGIP Junction along Sapele Road and moved to the Stella Obasanjo Hospital for screening and testing to ascertain their COVID-19 status before they were let off to continue their journey.
“We are going to have their records well-documented. We have been directed to get them back into their truck, and direct security men to escort them out of Edo State. It is until they get far away from Edo State that they will be allowed to continue their journey.”
The commissioner noted that the cargo truck that was conveying the 26 passengers and the driver, was loaded with bags of salt.
He added that the truck was travelling from Rivers State and was waved down by security operatives at the AGIP Junction along Sapele Road, Benin City.
Meanwhile, management of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma would not be held responsible if any of its students or staff gets infected by the deadly virus “as the university has warned all students to vacate the vicinity to their parents house,” said the institution’s spokesman, Mr Edward Aihvebe.
According to NCDC, as of 11:40 p.m. May 5, 2020, there are 65 total COVID-19 cases in Edo and with this recent development, the cases may rise to 80 confirmed cases.
The continuous increase in number of infections has risen due to the increased capacity for testing across the country.
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