The federal government has frowned at reports of food wastages caused by delays at security checkpoints, necessitated by the lockdown measure to checkmate spread of the COVID-19 in the country.
Reacting to the situation yesterday, the federal government through President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu reiterated that restrictions of movement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, do not apply to vehicles transporting essential commodities, such as food.
“In the light of the presidential directive, during the nationwide broadcast last night, it is essential that attention be drawn to the reported large number of food trucks that are being delayed at various checkpoints around the country, or prevented from crossing state borders, as a result of the various curfews and lockdowns in different states.
“The restrictions of movement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic do not apply to vehicles transporting essential commodities, such as food.
“The country cannot afford a situation where agricultural products are being left to rot in trucks held at various checkpoints, when millions of Nigerians across the country need food. COVID-19 or no COVID-19, Nigerians need to eat,” he said.
He further stated that other essential items that can be transported despite the ban on movement as prescribed by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) include: pharmaceutical and sanitary supplies, personal care items, agro chemicals and agricultural machinery, electrical products and electronics; oil and gas, courier services, health supplies and protective garments.
“Vehicles transporting essential items must not convey any commercial passengers. In addition, the occupants must not exceed three, i.e. the driver, spare driver, and conductor,” he warned.
He added that drivers must have basic protective and sanitary items, including: face masks, hand sanitisers, and tissue paper to and from their destinations. Once these conditions are satisfied, he said: “they must be allowed to travel freely to and from any part of Nigeria.”