The Ondo State Task Force on COVID-19 has intercepted about 20 men, women and children in Akure, who came into the state from the northern part of the country.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had earlier announced the closure of the state boundaries to prevent visitors from coming into the state as part of efforts to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease in the state.
It was gathered that prior to their interception, the travellers had beat all security checkpoints at the boundaries before entering the state.
Their discovery at the Dangote Cement depot along the Oyemekun Road was said to have caused panic among the residents of the town, who alerted the task force.
A resident of the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the residents kept watch over the travellers, who were reportedly conveyed to Akure in a Dangote Cement truck.
One of the travellers, who identified himself simply as Garba, stated that he and the others came to Akure in a bus from Sokoto State.
He, however, refused to state why they embarked on the journey and their mission in the state.
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akeredolu on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, who led the task force to the location, said he had been directed by the governor to ensure that the visitors were escorted out of the state to where they came from.
According to him, the state government has commenced the blockage of routes, which some travellers have been using to sneak into the state, and urged other states to be vigilant in their surveillance.
“We received information that some people numbering about 20 were dumped in this particular location by trucks at night and that they were stranded here without knowing their destination.
“It is like we have helped Osun State to check it now. They are not moving towards Osun. We don’t even know if this is their final destination anyway, but the fact remains that we have been able to check them here and we are turning them back.
“We agree that our borders are still porous but, what we are doing now is the blocking of the unmanned borders. There is a lot of porosity at some border routes and bush parts that security agencies do not have the strength to block, and that is where the governor is now blocking totally with concrete. That is why we are moving to the Akoko/Imeri area of the state to go and block all those areas and the feeder roads.
“Most of these people might have come through these bush paths, beating the authorities on the main roads. We cannot rule that one out totally. The issue of compromise cannot be ruled out.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Tee-Leo Ikoro, stated that the travellers accompanied trucks from the northern parts of the country on the pretext of conveying foodstuffs.
He urged the residents of the state to be vigilant and report to the appropriate authorities whenever they see strange persons.
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Source: News update