The Presidency has frowned at the reported large number of food trucks that are being delayed at various checkpoints across the country or prevented from crossing state borders due to curfews and lockdowns in different states.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, raised the alarm in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, the restrictions of movement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as announced by the president on Monday evening, do not apply to vehicles transporting essential commodities, such as food.
The statement read in part: ”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.
“Some are being 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.
”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.
”Others include electrical products and electronics, oil and gas, courier services, health supplies and protective garments.”
The presidential aide maintained that the vehicles transporting essential items must not convey any commercial passengers, saying that the occupants of such vehicles must not exceed three – the driver, spare driver, and conductor.
”The 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, they must be allowed to travel freely to and from any part of Nigeria,” he added.