Trouble looms as Anambra and Delta disagree over border movement across Niger bridge.
There has been traces of discord between Anambra and Delta states over the management of Niger bridge.
This results from the question of who is entitled to enforce lockdown order on the movement over the bridge between the two states.
Note that there has been an agreement reached among the Nigeria’s 36 state governor that a-14-days interstate lockdown be enforced.
However, the initial 14 days has elapse but some states in their precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19 has reinstated the lockdown after the end of the initial 14 days.
The discord brewed between the two affected states when the Anambra state government erected an iron barricade at the Asaba end of the Niger bridge to prevent movements into the state.
In Delta state’s reaction to this development, the State’s COVID-19 Task Force on Boundary Enforcement stormed the head-bridge and pulled down the iron barricade erected at the Asaba-end by Anambra.
Moreso, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in a communiqué earlier released after the meeting leading to the 14-days lockdown agreement, had said that only those on essential duties and vehicles conveying essential goods such as agricultural, medical, and pharmaceutical products should be allowed across borders.
But the Anambra State’s decision to shutdown the Niger bridge has caused restriction of movements of persons, goods as well as those in essential duties across the said bridge.
In a report by The Independent, a source said the development had caused traffic gridlock for heavy duty vehicles and other road users, stretching from the head bridge all the way to Koka Junction in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Traffic is always heavy at the Asaba end of the bridge down to Koka Junction, a situation which makes it difficult for motorists coming from both Agbor and Ughelli-Ogwashi-Uku axis to make their way to the junction, a source said.
Nigerian News World gathered in a statement by Governor Willie Obiano in late March, through the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, announcing the closure of Onitsha Bridge head with immediate effect.
The statement, however, permitted vehicles transporting food items and medicines to be allowed to pass through thedtate bridge.
In the justification of the action by Innocent Esewezie led Delta State COVID-19 Task Force, the barricade was said to have been pulled down to allow for passage of vehicles on essential duties across the border.
A source reported a clash between the security personnels of the two states which later ended when the Anambra state government dismissed the alleged construction of concrete slabs at the said bridge.