Posted by News Express | 1 April 2020 | 1,041 times
Some stranded passengers who flouted the ban on movement placed by the Rivers State government on inter-state routes claimed they paid security operatives N1,000 each to enter or leave the state.
The passengers, who were mostly traders plying the Port Harcourt-Aba route and through the Ogoni-Ikot Abasi route on the East-West Road, alleged they were asked by security operatives stationed along the border points to enforce the no movement ban to either pay the money or return to wherever they were coming from.
Some of the passengers also said that lorry drivers carrying foodstuffs into the state had to pay between N30,000 and N50,000 depending on the quantities of the produce they carried and their negotiating ability before they could enter the state.
The passengers coming from Aba had to stop at the Imo River, where the security operatives ordered them to form a queue and pay their N1,000 each, just as private car owners that wanted to leave or enter the state also paid N1,000.
Some of the passengers, who spoke, including Rivers residents who had gone to Aba for purchases, lamented that after buses from Aba dropped them just before the Imo River bridge, they learnt that people were paying N1,000 to enter or leave the state.
A toothbrush hawker at the Mile 1 Market, who comes from Aba to Port Harcourt almost everyday to sell his wares, said some people who didn’t have up to N1,000 took time to plead with the security operatives to accept less than the amount.
He said: “This morning (yesterday) I didn’t know that I would pay anything to enter Port Harcourt. But the security operatives at Imo River, especially the policemen there, were very strict with their demand.
“We were many who rushed to pay because they warned us to pay or return to wherever we were coming from. Some of my friends who also come from Aba will be returning in the evening, but I won’t because I have a brother whose house I will go to after business.”
The trader said that some passengers from Aba who were afraid they won’t be allowed into the state travelled through Obehie in Abia to Umuagbai in Oyigbo Local Government Area before they later entered Port Harcourt through Obigbo also in the same local government area.
A passenger, who entered Port Harcourt from Ikot Abasi early yesterday morning, disclosed that security operatives stationed at Ogoni boundary were collecting N3,000 from bus drivers that ventured to enter the state. (New Telegraph)
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