The Commissioner of Police in Kwara State, Kayode Egbetokun, has warned members of the various transport unions conveying food items and agricultural products against smuggling passengers into the state.
Egbetokun gave the warning on Monday while inaugurating the Joint Technical Task Team on Emergency Response to COVID-19 on Challenges of Movement of Food and Agricultural Inputs in the country.
The CP, who is State Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on free movement of agricultural produce and input, was represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Abimbola Sokoya, at the inauguration at the Police Headquarters in Ilorin.
He said any vehicle caught conveying passengers with other essential goods would be impounded and the driver prosecuted.
He said: “It is only essential commodities, especially food items and agricultural inputs, that were exempted from the restriction imposed on free movement across the country by the Federal Government.
“This exception is to ensure the availability of food items in all the nooks and crannies of the country, particularly in this pandemic period
“Before the inauguration of this committee, that had been the challenge we had in checking inter-state travels by the people
“You will see transporters conveying passengers with farm produce and animals in the guise of transporting agriculture products, and we are being blamed as security agents for failing to enforce travel ban.”
Egbetokun promised that the team would do everything possible to ensure that its terms of reference as provided by the federal government were met.
The CP further charged members to constantly communicate with each other and work together to ensure success of the assignment.
Earlier, the Kwara State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dare Oladapo, urged members of technical team to put in their wealth of experience while carrying out the crucial national assignment.
Oladipo, who is also the Secretary of the Committee, said this was necessary so as to protect life and ensure food security for all Nigerians and foreigners.
According to him, the terms and references of the teams in all states entails that they work with relevant agencies in the States and Local Governments.
He said they were to do so to develop a window that would facilitate free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and agricultural inputs throughout the country without compromising the security and health of the nation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the team are drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Nigeria Union of Journalists.
Others are Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.