Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the Borno State taskforce on the pandemic and officers of the Nigerian Army clashed over procedures to adopt while implementing Federal Government guidelines on the interstate travel ban imposed by Federal Government to reduce coronavirus transmission.
Before the clash, Borno taskforce officials had been conducting tests for commuters aiming to gain access into the state and insisted on placing them under compulsory isolation.
Hours after the exercise had started on Saturday, some military officers were said to have stormed the place and insisted on freeing the highway for the safety of travellers.
An eyewitness told The Guild that the demands of the military personnel angered the state officials who insisted that the procedures set by Federal and state governments must be strictly adhered to for possible prevention of COVID-19 spread to the state.
He said that while the Army personnel insisted on freeing the highway for the safety of travellers, the COVID-19 committee enforcing the ban on interstate travel wanted the travellers to be properly screened and quarantined before gaining access into the state.
It took the intervention of The Garrison Commander of 7th Division to calm frayed nerves, offering an explanation for the misunderstanding.
Reacting over drama that played out at the scene, Borno Deputy Governor, Usman Kadafur, who is also the Chairman of the Borno State Committee on the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, condemned the military’s action against his team.
Twenty-four hours before the clash, the state had recorded 42 new cases of the disease, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Borno has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country’s northeast region with a total of 423 cases and 26 deaths.