State governors have been embarking on interstate movement in clear violation of a ban to that effect which they agreed on as a measure to mitigate community transmission of COVID-19, Daily Trust investigation has revealed.
The governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) had on Wednesday, April 22, “unanimously” agreed to the implementation of an interstate lockdown in the country to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 from state to state, giving permission to only essential services.
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Daily Trust reports that the Federal Government also banned interstate movement effective Monday, May 4, as part of new measures to fight the dreaded COVID-19. Before the agreement on the interstate travel ban was reached, the 36 governors resorted to weekly COVID-19 teleconference meetings and suspended their monthly gathering at the NGF secretariat that hitherto brought them to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, on a regular basis.
The agreement was sequel to the imposition of a total lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states by President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the spread of the virus; a measure which some of the states also took.
Checks by Daily Trust, however, showed that some of the governors have been violating the interstate travel ban with recent trips to Abuja and Lagos undertaken either by flight or road. While some of the trips by the governors could be described as security-related, others were purely political. For instance, on Monday, June 1, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State visited President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to formally inform him of his intention to seek re-election for a second term.
The same day, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, led six of his colleagues to meet with the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC on what was believed to be a last-minute effort to save Obaseki’s candidacy ahead of the APC primary election in Edo. Both the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Oshiomhole, and Gov. Bagudu, however, dismissed the notion that the visit was to discuss the feud between the national chairman and his godson.
Governors sighted by our correspondents at the venue of the Monday meeting were those of Kebbi (Bagudu); Ondo (Rotimi Akeredolu); Lagos (Babajide Sanwo-Olu); Plateau (Simon Lalong); Kano (Umar Abdullahi Ganduje); Kwara (Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq) and Gombe (Muhammed Inuwa). Before the meeting with the NWC, a delegation of the governors met with the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Lagos, Gov. Bagudu confirmed while speaking with journalists on Monday.
The governors who were reported to have met Tinubu to deliberate on the internal crisis rocking Edo and Ondo chapters of the party ahead of the governorship elections were Bagudu, Akeredolu, Ganduje, Sanwo-Olu, Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Godwin Obaseki (Edo). Also, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno State alongside Yahaya of Gombe had on Monday, May 18, attended the swearing-in ceremony of Waziri Bulama as the National Secretary of the APC at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.