The lockdown order of the Nasarawa State government has taken a different dimension as a combined team of security personnel under the leadership of Army officers has taken over the enforcement of the lockdown at Nyanya, the boundary between Nasarawa and the FCT.
Curiously, according to ExpressDay findings, is the refusal by the Army officers to allow journalists who are among essential service workers to pass through.
A reporter working for one of the top leading newspapers in Nigeria was denied passage despite showing his Identity Card to the soldiers.
Speaking to Expressday, the reporter who prayed for anonymity for security reasons said: “I was going to work this morning, when I got to Nyanya, I saw a combined team of security personnel including the Army, men and officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the local vigilante group.
“I showed them my ID Card, but an Army officer just waved a big stick in his hand showing me the path to turn. I told him that I am a journalist, he said he is under instruction not to allow anyone to pass.
“I obeyed their instruction, turned, then went and parked my vehicle and came to meet the most senior officer, I showed him my ID card and also explained to him, he also told me that they have been instructed not to allow anyone to pass to Abuja, the city centre.”
The reporter lamented that: “I am shocked that the lockdown order in Nasarawa state is afffecting journalists who are very key in the fight against the Covid-19.”
He, however, disclosed that an officer working with one of the paramilitary organizations followed him to where he parked his vehicle and offered to show him a small route where he can follow to bypass the Army check point, but that he must be paid N,5000, an offer that the journalist declined.
According to him: “To my amazement, however, an officer with one of the paramilitary organizations came to me that he will take me through a small road that will bypass the check point.
“He said I have to give him 5000 naira because there are other check points at the front and that he must settle them for them to allow me pass.
“I became suspicious of him. As a journalist, to me, this is unethical and may land me into more trouble if I accept the offer.”
He, therefore, called on the Nasarawa State government and heads of security agencies to know that journalists are supposed to be exempted from the lockdown due to the nature of their work.