By Chimezie Anaso
Awka – The closure of all borders in Anambra to their neighbouring states is taking tolls on interstate commuters due to the high enforcement rate of the order.
It would be recalled that Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra had ordered closure of the state borders to check movement in and out of the state with effect from March 30.
The closure is being enforced by officials of Anambra Ministry Transport in collaboration with Police, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and other relevant agencies.
Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who monitored the situation in some borders on Friday reports that some travellers were stranded due to strict enforcement.
However, petrol tankers, articulated trucks and other vehicles conveying food items and medical supplies were allowed to pass after a due check on them.
At Amansea border with Enugu on the Enugu-Onitsha expressway strong checks were mounted on both the new and the old reads.
Some of the travellers who spoke to newsmen lamented their plight as they said they had been pleading all day to no avail.
They said though they were aware of the order, they needed to go back to their families and unite with them.
One of the travelers who identified himself simply as Dominic said he was taking his brother to a nearby hospital close to the border.
“ It is true that we live in Enugu, but our border is very close to Anambra, and we use the hospital at Amansea,’’ he said.
But investigation revealed that some of them coming from Awka would disembark at a distance and walk through the border with the claim that they were going to the next village after which they join another vehicle to continue their journey.
A truck driver who claimed to have loaded his vehicle with banana bunches was later discovered to be conveying metal scraps upon scrutiny and was later denied access to continue his journey.
Mr Victor Erivwode, the Mobile Police commander of MOPOL 29, who spoke to journalists during the inspection, said his team has had a hectic time checking the entry and exit of vehicles into the state.
Erivwode said the effort was to achieve maximum compliance with minimal or no harassment and intimidation of the populace including those on essential duties.
“We have less pressure now, I must confess. When we started this operation on Monday, all the borders were full of stranded passengers, but we had to explain to them that we are not doing this to punish them, but to protect them.
“We must all comply and observe the 14 days stay at home to see if we can beat the disease,” he said.
Responding to allegations of extortion by some his staff as revealed by some motorists, Dr Christian Madubuko, Commissioner for Transport in Anambra said he did not send them to collect money from travelers but to ensure strict compliance.
Madubuko said he would withdraw corrupt officials who were indicted adding that he could not afford to have anybody tarnish the image of government.
Some of the closed borders were Awka and Ebenebe leading to Enugu, Niger Bridge leading to Delta, Amorka in Uli leading to Imo, Ogbaru leading Rivers, Aguleri Out leading to Kogi and Owerri-Ezukala leading to Abia.