Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers has raised the alarm that the establishment of a Joint Technical Task Force by the Inspector General of Police IGP on the movement of agriculture products, livestock, machinery, goods and services constitutes a threat to the healthy existence of the people of the state.
The traditional rulers raised the alarm during a press conference by the Chairman of the council, His Majesty, King Jaja of Opobo, Dr Dandeson Douglas Jaja.
They queried the motive behind the IGP’s move during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced the Federal Government to place a ban on interstate movement saying “we fear that even if the intention was to ensure movement of food, livestock and agricultural equipment, the process could also encourage a massive influx of bandits, terrorists and COVID-19 infected persons to endanger the lives of our people”.
According to the monarchs, the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, last week announced the establishment of the Joint Technical Task Force due to a presumed directive of the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Defence, Security Agencies, etc to provide free unhindered movement of food, livestock and agricultural input, among others, without passengers.
They observed that despite the fact the Rivers State Governor being the Chief Security Officer of the state with the responsibility of the protection of lives and property they were not even aware that such constitutional power is now vested in the Inspector General of Police.
“We further ask, why should the Joint Technical Task Force begin with Rivers State and to the exclusion of the Government of Rivers State while the Presidential ban in order to check covid-19 pandemic is in force? How much agricultural activities requiring large scale input including livestock are located in Rivers? Why is Rivers State being singled out for pollution and annihilation by the possibility of the escalation of covid pandemic? They asked.
The monarchs noted that it was not proper for the IGP to set up such a task force without the knowledge, collaboration and participation and consultation of the Rivers State government wondering if the Joint Technical Task Force was backed by any law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria outside the Constitution?
“We prayerfully request President Mohammadu Buhari to intervene and reverse this Order of the IGP. Even if it is a national policy, it should not begin with Rivers State as we are not the most undernourished state in Nigeria. We feel deeply concerned as the entire episode is hasty and appear to be terminally targeted at our people. We seek Mr President timeous intervention to lift the threat and save the lives of our people as covid-19 pandemic does discriminate between gender, class enthic group, creed or social status”, the Traditional rulers pleaded.