FCT Minister Raises Alarm Over Sudden Influx Of Destitute Into The Territory
The Federal Capital Territory Administration on Wednesday raised the alarm over the influx of destitute into the territory from neighbouring states in spite of the current lockdown in Abuja.
Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, Minister of State for FCT, made the statement while inspecting palliative items at Tunga Mage community in Gwagwalada Area Council for onward distribution to the vulnerable in Kwali Area Council.
Aliyu, who said that FCT was not a dumping ground, warned that anyone caught aiding and abetting such gross violation of containment protocol would face dire consequences.
The minister urged stakeholders and residents to assist security agencies halt the trend by acting as whistleblowers.
She said: “Information got to us yesterday night that trucks and pick-ups are offloading destitute at the boundaries of the FCT or in some of our suburbs.
“We heard there is influx of destitute into the territory. “FCT is not a dumping ground.
“This is a cry to residents, both natives and non-natives, and also a cry to the royal fathers, the Christian Association of Nigeria and the League of Imams, as well as Civil Society Organisations to please blow the whistle when they see strange faces in their areas.”
The minister wondered how people continue to sneak into the territory despite the lockdown in the FCT and most of the states surrounding it.
Aliyu said: “There is no inter-state movement, and we don’t know how they (destitute) were able to arrive here.
“When you see a group of destitute, please call us.
“We shall return them back or know what to do with them.
“But please, don’t house any guest. “Don’t endanger the lives of your relatives and yourself by harbouring strangers or visitors that are your relatives from another state.
“So, we will be working round the clock (24 hours) to fish them out and most of them would be subjected to necessary tests.
“Let each state be able to shut down and take responsibility and see how we can urgently reduce the spread of COVID-19 to the barest minimum.”
Responding, Chairman, FCT Enforcement Team on Movement Restriction, Ikharo Attah, promised to ensure that security was tightened around the boundaries of the FCT.
Attah added that those who breached the emergency regulations put in place to halt the spread of COVID-19 would be prosecuted accordingly.
He said: “I want to assure you that for those people who are importing people into Abuja at this time when the boundaries have been closed, we will be tightening up our grip on the boundaries, especially the filtration points to the nation’s capital city.
“We know that there would be some tears and complaints here and there, but those (people) who are in other areas (outside the FCT) should remain there.
“Should they come in against the directive of the FCT Administration, they would be picked up, tested and subsequently made to face the Mobile Courts.”