Nigeria: Coronavirus - Petrol Tankers, Food Trucks Stranded As Police Close Ogun-Lagos Boundary

The police have grounded dozens of tankers and trucks conveying petroleum products and foodstuffs at the boundary between Ogun and Lagos states.

As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, there were barricades at the Berger end of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The exit out of Lagos witnessed slow-moving traffic as police officers allowed medical personnel, journalists, and trucks conveying foodstuffs and petroleum products to pass through.

But the entry into Lagos was grounded.

"We have been here for more than five hours," said Abdul Adamu, a tanker driver heading to Lagos to lift diesel for onward movement to Abuja.

"We were told in the news that tankers and trucks carrying foodstuffs were not involved [in the lockdown], that is why we moved down here but we are surprised that police are here blocking the road, allowing us not to pass."

Mr Adamu said the police officers at the barricade refused to speak to them.

"We are calling on the federal government, the Lagos State government, and the Ogun State government to come to our aid because this is getting out of hand," he said.

Most of the tanker drivers told PREMIUM TIMES they were coming from Ogere, Ogun State, to lift fuel and diesel.

A senior police officer who sat in a patrol van parked across the road said the presidential directive was the reason for the blockade.

When told the president specifically stated that those conveying foodstuffs and petroleum products be allowed access, he declined to make further comments.

Bala Elkana, the Lagos State police spokesperson, said the trucks and tankers would be allowed to move after their destinations are ascertained.

"They will not just be allowed to pass, they will be cleared first. I refer you to the presidential directive," he said.

Lagos-Ogun boundary closure

Tokunbo Korodo, the former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), told PREMIUM TIMES he is hopeful the issue would be resolved amicably.

"I am at the scene now, you know there is a restriction of movement and only the exceptional ones are allowed to move," Mr Korodo said.

"There are lots of vehicles in front of our members, once they are cleared, we will be allowed to move."

During his nationwide broadcast on Sunday night, President Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11 p.m. on March 30. He added that the restriction would also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two states.

Lagos-Ogun boundary closure

"This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in healthcare-related manufacturing and distribution," he said.

"Furthermore, commercial establishments such as food processing, distribution and retail companies, petroleum distribution and retail entities, power generation, transmission and distribution companies, and private security companies are also exempted.

"Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored."

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