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Many inter-city commercial transport operators plying routes within Asaba, the Delta State Capital, and environs have shunned COVID-19 protocols.
It was observed that the law enforcement of COVID-19 protocols is non-existent, notwithstanding the presence of several police checkpoints on the Asaba-Kwale axis.
It was learnt that on the Asaba-Ogwashi-Uku-Kwale-Ughelli-Warri routes, commercial transporters not only conveyed commuters without face masks, but ignored social distancing rules.
Commercial vehicle drivers overloaded their vehicles with two passengers in front with four commuters crammed in the back seat.
Some commuters expressed helplessness over the situation.
According to some commuters, the policemen, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) officers on the route, especially at the Olloa Ogwashi spot, are only interested in collecting bribes from drivers.
A civil servant, Onwuka Uzor, said: “This is really very sad that despite all the awareness campaign on radio, television and newspapers, we are still living like people from the Stone Age. “How can one explain that despite several deaths caused by COVID-19, drivers and commuters are here shunning protocols and behaving as if all is well.”
Mrs. Oke Oghene, 67-years-old, who was commuting between Ozoro, Isoko North and Oshimili South local councils, said: “When the enforcement was really serious, everybody complied. But since police and other officers are no longer bothered about enforcement, people are no longer bothered about such issues.”
A driver, who pleaded anonymity, said: “We decided to resume carrying our normal load when the Federal Government increased fuel price. Don’t forget that most of us are on hire purchase, and we have to meet the demands of our creditors, who care less about COVID-19 or not.”
Efforts to speak with the state police command spokesman, DSP Onome Onowakpoyeya, proved abortive as several calls to her phone were not answered.