No fewer than 150 travellers including almajiri children have been intercepted in three vehicles by security operatives along the Abuja- Kaduna road on Wednesday.
They were attempting to move into Kaduna State from the Federal Capital Territory, (Abuja) and Nyanya in Nasarawa State.
The Commissioner for Human Resources and Social Development in the state, Hafsat Baba, confirmed this to Channels Television on Wednesday, adding that other almajiris were also intercepted in Soba and Giwa Local Government Areas of the state.
According to her, out of the 150, 90 are from Kano State, while the others are from Nasarawa and Birinin Gwari Local Government in Kaduna.
She further explained that all the non-indigenous Almajiri and other travellers have been returned to their states, while those from Kaduna have been quarantined for a period of 14 days.
Baba stressed that the ban on inter-state travels at this moment is still in full force in Kaduna state. She, therefore, warned that any unauthorised person coming into the state will be sent back or quarantined for 14 days.
The police in Taraba State have intercepted 65 persons traveling from Ogun State to Adamawa.
According to the police, the heavy-duty vehicle that conveyed them from Ogun state was able to beat all the border patrol teams with the claim that he was conveying food items not knowing that there are human beings in it.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations, Faleye Olaleye said that upon reaching Jalingo, the driver of the said vehicle dumped them and ran away with the vehicle to an unknown destination.
Upon interrogation, the police discovered that the individuals, said to be workers of a Chinese firm in Ogun, paid huge sums of money to be conveyed to Numan in Adamawa.
One of the travellers, Haruna Adamu, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of others said after the Chinese company closed down, they were asked to leave, hence the decision to use such strategy.
“We had no place to go when the company closed down, we stepped out and found a vehicle heading to the north, then we contributed to pay him to convey us,” he said.
Adamu who noted that the bargain was for the driver to take them to Numan, said they were surprised to know that they were dumped in Jalingo, with another arrangement to convey them via 18 sitter buses to their destination.
He said despite the lockdown in Ogun State, they violated it and moved out since Wednesday, April 15 before been intercepted today in Jalingo.
While denying to have the mobile phone number of the driver, nor the registration number of the vehicle, Adamu stated that the amount spent on their transportation is N720,000.
Reacting to the development, the state’s Commissioner of Health, Dr Innocent Vakkai, said their presence in the state is worrisome and could make residents panic.
The Commissioner however noted that state government is considering quarantining them in its isolation centres or to take them to Adamawa state for quarantine since that is their final destination.
The Kaduna State government has converted the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp located along the Abuja- Kaduna highway into a quarantine centre.
The state deputy governor, Hadiza Balarabe, confirmed this during an inspection visit to the facility on Thursday along with members of the COVID-19 Task Force in Kaduna.
She explained that the facility would be used to quarantine travellers coming into the state during the lockdown, as part of measures to contain the further spread of coronavirus.
Balarabe warned unauthorised persons coming into Kaduna during the lockdown to better turn back or get ready to be quarantined at the NYSC camp for 14 days to ascertain their COVID-19 status.
She disclosed that similar quarantine facilities have been set up at all the 17 entry points into the state, with a view to curtailing the influx of travellers and reducing the chances of inter-state transmission of coronavirus.
The deputy governor reacted to the allegation of some security operatives collecting bribes from unauthorised motorists and granting them entry into Kaduna.
She said the complaints were being investigated by the relevant authorities with a view to putting a stop to such misconduct.
The United States is weighing a ban on travelers from Europe to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a senior US official said Wednesday.
“The question is a live question about how to treat Europe as a whole,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
“That is not to the level of using legal authorities to block travel yet. But it is under consideration,” he told a congressional hearing.
“As each country, or in this case region, becomes more and more problematic it obviously gets reviewed on a day-to-day basis,” Cuccinelli told the House Homeland Security Committee.
“Europe presents a unique problem,” he said, pointing to the Schengen Area that maintains open borders between most of the Western European countries.
Cuccinelli, who is also acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said that Italy, the European country worst hit by the COVID-19 virus, is pre-screening passengers on all direct flights to the United States.
But Cuccinelli said the United States does not have adequate resources to screen travel by Italians or others who are flying indirectly to the United States from Europe.
He gave no additional information on the possibility of a ban.
Earlier a top government health expert said the largest threat to the country with respect to the virus is transmission from Europe.
“Where our real threat is right now is Europe,” said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“That’s where the cases are coming in from. If you want to be blunt, Europe is the new China,” he said.
Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen have kidnapped three indigenes of Obbo-Aiyegunle in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The incident occurred on New Year’s Eve along the Osi-Obbo-Aiyegunle Road in the state.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in Kwara, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, could not confirm the incident but promised to provide details of the incident later.
Those kidnapped include a lady and two men, while the fourth in the same vehicle with them escaped with serious injuries.
The kidnappers were said to have demanded a ransom of N50 million from the families before they would release the victims.
A former chairman of the Ekiti Local Government and an indigene of the town, Ezekiel Gbadeyan, told Channels Television that the victims were travelling to their hometown for the New Year celebration before the incident.
He decried that kidnapping has been a recurrent event in the area due to the deplorable state of the road linking Osi and Obbo-Aiyegunle.
“That incident was the fourth in the last few weeks, but local hunters have always been rising up to the occasion of preventing innocent souls from been kidnapped,” Gbadeyan said.
Some passengers travelling in a Toyota Hilus car belonging the Federal Ministry of Justice have been abducted by gunmen on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway.
The Kaduna State Police Command confirmed this in a statement on Tuesday, saying the travellers were kidnapped on Monday night.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Yakubu Sabo, the assailants intercepted the victims near Gidan Visa village, opened fire on them and shot a traveller in the process after which they were taken to an unknown destination.
He, however, said the security patrol teams within the axis quickly moved to the scene, rescued the injured person and rushed him to the hospital.
A combined team of personnel from the Anti Kidnapping Unit, Police Mobile Force and conventional police was said to have mobilised to the area for intensive general search operation with a view to rescuing the victims and apprehending the kidnappers.
The command’s spokesman disclosed that a bank teller bearing the name of a possible victim and two footwears were recovered from the vehicle.
He, therefore, appealed to members of the public to support the police with relevant information on the whereabouts of the kidnappers and other suspected criminals in their resolve to curb the menace of banditry and other related crimes in the state.
Over the years, the Kaduna-Abuja highway has been in the news for incessant kidnappings and robbery attacks by armed bandits who terrorise motorists and residents, despite the presence of security operatives on the road.
Hundreds of travellers were stranded at Nairobi’s international airport Wednesday as riot police deployed and teargas was fired to disperse striking workers.
With flights grounded since midnight, passengers were advised Wednesday morning not to come to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) — East Africa’s busiest according to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) — until further notice.
“Kenya Airways regrettably wishes to inform its customers and the general public that due to the illegal strike by Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KUWA), the airline will be experiencing disruptions in normal flight operations,” a company statement said.
Inside the terminals, strikers faced off with police who fired teargas as they moved in to arrest union officials they accused of inciting workers.
Passengers waiting for flights, some for hours, were asked to leave the airport and gathered in parking and waiting areas outside the building.
“I have been here since 3:00 am, and there is no flight, there is no information, we have just been told now to wait for communication,” stranded passenger Mercy Mwai told AFP.
Another, Christine, questioned: “why are police using unnecessary force with teargas at an airport?”
Some passengers received medical treatment on-site for tear gas inhalation, according to an AFP journalist at the airport.
The workers, who had not announced their labour action beforehand, are angry about the planned takeover of the airport, operated by the state-run KAA, by national carrier Kenya Airways.
But Transport Minister James Macharia said workers need not worry.
“What they were fearing is that the proposed merger between KQ (the acronym for Kenya Airways) and KAA will result in job losses but we gave assurances that that will not happen,” he told journalists at the airport, and promised flights will resume shortly.
“So this (strike) is completely uncalled for because the deal has not happened.”
According to the KAA, more than 7.6 million passengers and 313,000 tons of cargo passed through JKIA in more than 111,000 aircraft movements in 2017.
The airport contributes just over five percent to Kenya’s gross domestic product.
Kenya Airways chief executive Sebastian Mikosz said 24 departing flights, and two arrivals, were affected by the strike, but “we expect the situation to normalise during the day.”
“We are set to resume operations, although the process is a bit slow,” he said. “Our flights to London, Dubai, and Mumbai will be departing shortly.”
A video has emerged online showing the killing of a man allegedly by officials of the Nigerian Customs.
In the video, several commuters apparently from a commercial bus are seen arguing with Customs officials, with several other commuters from other vehicles watching.
Amid angry scenes, a passenger can be heard warning an official not to touch his phone, while some others were arguing with another official. As the argument continued, a voice is heard saying, ‘Shoot him’ and a gun went off immediately after.
The sound of the gunshot is believed caused some of the people at the scene to flee with some others repeatedly shouting in pidgin English that the Customs officials have killed someone.
While the video did not capture the officer who pulled the trigger, it showed one of them clutching a gun standing over the body of the man who had been shot.
After lifting the man’s hand, and seeing it fall limply to the ground, the official and his colleagues tried to get back into their cars, but the civilians at the scene rallied and prevented them from leaving.
Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, DC Joseph Attah, confirmed that the incident occurred today, at the “Sagamu Interchange, along Ijebu Ode”.
He, however, said contrary to claims that the person killed was a passenger, the man who was shot was a friend of the officials.
According to the Customs, the incident occurred during an attempt to obstruct the lawful performance of duty by passengers of a commercial bus (a white Toyota Hiace) suspected to be carrying bales of used clothing.
Attah said that preliminary findings indicate that the deceased identified simply as Godwin was hit accidentally “during the skirmishes and struggle [by the passengers] to disarm the officer”.
Read the full statement below:
The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service has been drawn to a disturbing video going viral with conflicting narratives.
While it is painful and totally unnecessary to lose lives in anti-smuggling operations, today at Sagamu Interchange along Ijebu Ode, attempt to obstruct lawful performance of duty by passengers of a commercial bus (a white Toyota Hiace) suspected to be carrying bales of used clothing led to the death of a young man (Godwin) and serious injury of a Customs Officer ASC 1, Destiny Onebanho.
Contrary to some narrative, the young man was not a passenger of the bus but a good citizen who always comes to fetch water for Customs patrol men anytime they return to base.
Preliminary findings indicate that it was during the skirmishes and struggle to disarm the officer that the rifle discharged and the friend of the Customs (Godwin) who lost his life.
The Service is already in touch with the bereaved family.
Sadly, it should be noted that while attention shifted to the dead and the wounded, the passengers who filmed with incited commentary boarded their vehicle and left, leaving the wrong impression that it was one of them that was killed.
While the wounded officer is under intensive care at the hospital, the patrol team has been recalled to the office for further investigation.
DC Joseph Attah Public Relations Officer For: Comptroller-General of Customs
The United States has warned its citizens that security at the Philippines’s main airport does not meet international standards, urging travellers to exercise “increased caution”.
The US Department of Homeland Security issued a travel advisory on Wednesday saying security at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport was not “consistent” with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.
“Exercise increased caution when traveling to or from Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” the US embassy in Manila said on its website citing the advisory.
The advisory was based on an assessment by security experts from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the US homeland security department said without specifying the findings.
Once derided as the world’s worst airport due to leaking toilets and creaking facilities, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is the primary gateway to the Southeast Asian nation.
A statement on the US homeland security department website said that the agency had directed airlines issuing tickets for travel between the two nations to notify passengers of the assessment.
It added that TSA representatives have been working with the Philippine government “assist airport and transportation authorities in bringing (the Manila airport) up to international security standards”.
Manila International Airport general manager Ed Monreal said on Thursday the Philippines would adhere to international aviation security standards.
“All points raised by the transportation security administration TSA auditors have either been addressed or are in the process of being addressed,” Monreal told reporters, adding that Manila airport was “very, very safe”.
Monreal said TSA auditors were in the Philippines in September and had observed that the Manila airport had some gates with faulty locks while security checkpoints were inconsistent.
He added the Philippines had hired additional guards and would procure x-ray machines to comply with the TSA recommendations.
The Manila airport topped the list of worst airports on the travel website “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” from 2011-2013, causing the government to make major renovations.
The airport is notorious for flight delays and its security personnel had faced allegations of extorting money from passengers.
In 2013, a gunman opened fire outside the airport, killing four people including a town mayor. Lawmakers then criticised the lack of functioning CCTV cameras in the area.
As the yuletides season approaches commuters who travelled to the South Eastern part of Nigeria to join their families in celebrating this season are contending with heavy vehicular movements and poor state of the roads.
In this report, Channels Television’s correspondents spoke with some commuters who recount their experiences on the road which is a major gateway to the southwest, including the Enugu-Onitsha Road, the Onitsha-Owerri Road, 9th Mile-Obollo Afor Road, as well as the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.