At least 40 travellers en route Lagos State from Kano State have been intercepted in Niger State as contained in a statement signed on Wednesday night by Mary Noel-Berje, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abubakar Bello.
According to the statement, 19 other persons travelling from Lagos to Kano were also stopped by the Niger State COVID-19 Task Force.
Niger, located in the North Central region of Nigeria, is one of the gateway states between the upper North and Southern Nigeria.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had on Monday, April 27, ordered a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travel until further notice as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease which is said to be at the community transmission stage in the country.
“Despite the interstate lockdown, people are still moving under any small opportunity they got. I can’t imagine people travelling under the cover of trampoline and sack of rice.
“For us, we are not going to leave any stone unturned, they are going back to where they came from,” Niger State Health Commissioner, Dr Muhammad Makusidi, was quoted in the statement.
The government said the intercepted persons have since been convicted by the Mobile Court and charged to between three months and one-year imprisonment with an option of a fine.
Lagos, with 1308 COVID-19 cases, and Kano with 427 cases, have the highest number of infections in the country, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as of Wednesday night.