Cross River turns back 11 truckloads of almajiri

…Ayade Orders resumption of public worship effective May 24

The Cross River State government, in collaboration with Peace Corps Nigeria, has intercepted no fewer than 11 trucks conveying almajirai to the state.

Head of the task force and commissioner for youth development and skills acquisition, Mr. Omang Idiege said yesterday that Quranic education pupils were intercepted at the Gakem-Benue border and sent back.

He said the trucks were sent back to their destination between May 4 and May 17, adding that the taskforce had continued to maintain a steady presence at the boundary.

The commissioner said it was the desire of the state governor, Ben Ayade, to ensure that the state remains COVID-19 free, hence the effective boundary surveillance.

“President Mohammadu Buhari had announced an interstate lockdown of persons not on essential duties. I wonder why we keep being confronted with trucks at the Gakem-Benue border conveying Almajirai.

“We will not succumb to any form of challenge or gratification to allow any passenger vehicle or truck conveying Almajirai entrance into the state,” he said.

Also speaking, the state commandant of PCN, Mr. Dominic Okweche, said that the Corps was driven by an absolute passion to protect Cross River boundaries against the pandemic.

Okweche said he had deployed over 100 personnel of the corps across the state since the COVID-19 taskforce was inaugurated.

He said the corps was determined to ensure that enforcement of the state government’s total shut down of boundaries directives.

He said the collaboration between the Corps and the state government had recorded tremendous results at the boundary post.

“The Corps has been steadfast and committed in their duties, rejecting all forms of monetary inducement to allow vehicles conveying passengers into the state.

“Peace Corps personnel have been deployed to all the local government areas across the state irrespective of inadequate funding and welfare packages, the Corps have shown doggedness and resilience in the fight against COVID-19.

“If one person is infected with the virus in Cross River, then no one is said to be safe again, hence the commitment to ensure that the state is COVID-19 free”.

“We are poised to deliver on our mandate. We want the state to remain COVID-19 free and we are determined to do things the right way,” he said.

Okweche called on all residents of Cross River to obey government directives on the compulsory use of face masks, no large gatherings among others.

In another development, Ayade has lifted the order suspending public worship.

His special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Christian Ita said in a statement that the governor had ordered resumption of public worship on the condition that the worshippers wear nose masks and only occupy sitting capacity of such centre.

“Conscious of the spiritual economy, and in response to appeals by religious leaders in our state, His Excellency has issued the following executive orders: The order suspending public worship in the state is hereby lifted with effect from May 24, 2020.

“Consequently, starting May 24, church services are permitted but should be limited to the sitting capacity of the Church. Same applies to Mosques.

“Use of nose mask is compulsory for all worshipers. Churches and Mosques should provide buckets for hand washing, or sanitizers.

“Churches and Mosques are advised to strictly keep to the above instructions. The enforcement team will still go around to check compliance,” he emphasised.

(News Gazette)

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