Worried by the spate of the influx of people contravening the inter-state movement restriction order into Kwara State, which had led to the interception of scores of people from the northern part of the country, loaded in trucks alongside goods and animals, attempting to cross the state en-route some South Western states, the Kwara State governor, Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq, has enlisted the services of the organised labour and civil society organisations, CSOs, to stem the trend.
The trend became more disturbing when some who were intercepted at different posts by either military men, police, Civil Defence Corps orthe Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, were suspected to be relocating from the Norther red zones to Kwara State.
And worse still, a number of such people, who were consequently quarantined at the COVID-19 Centre were later tested and confirmed positive.
The governor, during a virtual meeting with labour and CSO leaders in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, said, “It has been established that some people sneak into the state between 10p.m. and 5a.m. This poses a grave danger to us, when you consider the fact that virtually all our COVID-19 cases were imported.
“We would like to have volunteers from labour and the civil society who, working with the security agencies, would man our borders between those hours.”
The CSOs were represented by Mallam Lawal Olohungbebe of the Centre for Community Development. Kwara State University, KWASU; Dr Lateef Alagbonsi of the Elite Network for Sustainable Development, ENETSUD; Hajia Bilqees Oladimeji of the COVID-19 National CSO Emergency Intervention Group, CEIG; Idris Buko Musa of the Coalition of Kwara North Groups, CKNG; AbdulRahman Ayuba of the Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication, CCEPE;
Others were; Anthonia Oshiniwe of the Theios Caregivers Initiative, TCI; AbdulRasheed Sa’adudeen of the Volunteers of Ilorin Community and the Emirate, VOICE; and Saliu Saliu of the Haashim Initiative for Community Advancement, HICA.
The meeting was said to be a follow up to the first engagement the governor had with some civil society leaders last month, where he commended them for the “credible roles” they played in the distribution of government palliatives to the vulnerable in the state.
Abdulrazaq told the CSO leaders that he would offer incentives and security cover to volunteers who would form a border surveillance team manning the various entry posts of the state from its western and northern flanks, which he said include: Eiyenkorin, Oko Olowo and Jebba, where the influx of people had been reported in the past few days.
He also called on Kwara communities and individuals to take responsibility, as the country struggles to flatten the curve of transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic amid rising infection rates.