Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, on Saturday declared that the Sokoto travellers arrested by the police at the border with Osun State would not be released to the Sokoto State Government until they undergo COVID-19 tests.
Men of the Nigeria Police Force apprehended 11 travellers from Sokoto State, who defied the inter-state lockdown order of the Oyo State Government, in their bid to sneak into Akure, Ondo State.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor , Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Makinde said the state government has begun COVID-19 tests for the travellers.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Sina Olukolu, who briefed Makinde on his arrival at the Gbagi police station, where the culprits were detained overnight, said the travellers were apprehended at the Asejire axis of the Ibadan-Osun boundary, adding that they claimed they were travelling from Sokoto enroute to Akure, Ondo State.
According to the governor, nobody can ascertain how they got to the boundary and what they were looking for.
“We are not able to explain how they got here in the first place because there is inter-state lockdown throughout the country.
“They claimed they came from Sokoto and they must have passed through so many states,” Makinde said.
The governor also explained that he has given directives to the effect that the travellers should be isolated in Ibadan until the results of their COVID-19 tests are received.
He added that has been in touch with the Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, and that the travellers would be sent back to Sokoto State.
Makinde said the state would intensify its ongoing strategies for inter-state lockdown.
He said: “I am also in discussion with the governor of Sokoto State. We are more than likely going to return them to Sokoto.”
The governor maintained that governors in the country were still discussing on how to enforce the inter-state lockdown throughout the country in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“It is a discussion going on with the other governors in Nigeria, because inter-state lockdown was put in place for a particular reason and what we have agreed to do is, in each individual state where you have inter-state motor parks, they must be on lockdown. If they are locked down, at least 80 to 85 per cent of our problems would have been solved.
“It is an ongoing discussion and I believe that will be the ultimate way to go,” he added.
While being interrogated, the driver of the bus, who identified himself as Muhammad Idris, said they passed through old roads and bushes from Sokoto to Niger and Kwara and then got into Ogbomoso, from where they entered Ibadan.
He added that they were going to Akure “to reunite with their family members.”
Members of the medical team of Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force immediately administered COVID-19 tests on the travellers to determine their status.