Rivers sentences first 22 land border violators

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* As panic returns due to fresh positive case that may spike infection of corona virus

* Straight to court

By Codratus Godson

 

The Rivers State government has prosecuted the first set of land boundary violators being 22 traders who came from Abia and Anambra State to trade.

The 22 were arrested Thursday, April 23, 2020, at the boundary with Abia State trying to enter Rivers State. They were immediately sent for summary trial at a magistrate court.

The Rivers State Health Commissioner, Prof Chike Princewill, a professor, said the traders would first be screened to ascertain their coronavirus status, saying the screening was vital to ensure that they did not infect Rivers State. He said that his Ministry has stationed medical personnel to carry out the responsibility.

He said after the screening, the traders will be tried in line with the extant laws in place to protect Rivers people. The health boss said it was embarrassing that a transporter would convey human beings in a container, just to beat the law.

The raid at the boundaries came as a 61-tear-old hotel manager presented positive on Wednesday with evidence that he looked after the hotel owner who died secretly at the hotel in Port Harcourt, setting alarm that many persons must have been infected. The fear is thus rife that Port Harcourt was set for a spike in infections after the state lived with only two positive cases that had since recovered.

The traders who were arrested in three different sets told newsmen that they live in Anambra and Abia states, but usually do business in Rivers State. They claimed that they were not aware that the lockdown was very serious in Rivers State, because in their respective states, traders are allowed to move around.

One of the traders, UMrs ju Nnamdi, noted that she was coming to the state to sell her wares.  She said though she is aware of the lockdown of the state, she wasn’t aware that her trading would endanger the state.

Driver of the truck, Chijioke John, said he was travelling to Onne from Onitsha, but picked the women at Ihiala in Anambra State.

He said the women pleaded with him to help them and he took pity on them, since they were standing on the road.

The female traders were conveyed in a container to conceal their movement into the state. The driver said he opened one of the container doors for the traders to get ventilation.

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