Patriot Patrick Eholor in this interview, analyzes the sudden influx of of northern youths to the south in the wake of the Covid-19 interstate lockdown:
We have become very worried about the sudden and unprecedented repatriation of young northerners down south in this period of interstate lockdown. There is a rumour too that they are members of Boko Haram running from the onslaught of the Nigerian army. What’s your take on this?
If its established that these people are truly coming, then it’s a difficult issue to approach because they are Nigerians. You cannot restrict Nigerians from moving around the country or tell them where to work or where to live. It’s very clear in our constitution, especially when he or she has not violated any laws. But the issue is that, at this time of Covid-19, if its true, especially when they had to pack them like sardines to come to Southern Nigeria, its reprehensible, its inhuman, its sick and it’s sad. But then, perhaps, this Covid-19 has become a money making machine for our irresponsible governors and governments. First of all, they were supposed to be a restriction of interstate movement.
So how did they pass our security men manning the state boundaries? How do they get from the north to the south when there is a curfew, and a restriction of movement? That’s to tell you that most of our governors are irresponsible, very inactive.
You can see what Governor Wike is doing. He is not my type of person, he is sometimes seen as an extremist in his attitude. But I commend him for impounding trucks, for arresting and detaining those who break the law, and quarantining them. Other governors should emulate that.
If you are a transporter and you know that your car will likely be confiscated or impounded and auctioned, that he is going to get paid for a day and lose his truck for ever, I think the other governors should wake up and do something very quick.
If they don’t do that, whatever they are expecting from IMF as palliative measure for this Covid-19 from the west they probably will have difficulty in cashing in to that money. The west are also watching and seeing that we are not showing signs of irresponsibility.
I understand there are demonstrations going on in my Edo State by Covid-19 positive patients. They are protesting. There are also protests in the North. I think the IMF, WHO, and others should investigate Nigeria if they are actually doing what they should be doing.
Regarding Edo, it was reported that over 600 youths were stopped and sent back to Kogi State in trucks and bikes, and the vigilantes felt overwhelmed. They felt the Edo State government is not giving them enough support to check the borders. What’s your input on that?
Basically, this is a matter that the security votes cover. Since the coming of Gov Obaseki, the security votes have been increased and he gets more money than other governors. So where is the security money going to? What is happening with the DSS in our state? What about the police and the military, because these are all combined teams that secure our state. We also have the state police corp, Waibaizinga. So what are they all doing? A friend told me he was going to Lagos and I told him its not possible. He said it’s possible. He just paid the money and bribed the police on the way. He went to Lagos yesterday and came back to day. Where did he pass when there is an inter state lockdown?
Either these people don’t know what they are doing or they think everything is a joke.
You can’t have the police, army, DSS, Waibaizinga and they will not be able to monitor people who left the North as far away as Kano, Zamfara, Kaduna, all those places, and they will travel all the way from that area with a trailer load of human beings.
Again, my concern is not about the northerners coming from the north, but am worried that if there is a restriction that people should stay where they are and there should be social distancing, I think its morally irresponsible, morally bankrupt of Edo State Government not to be able to checkmate this movement.