Benue COVID-19 committee busts trafficked persons’ camp, quarantine suspects

The Benue State Action Committee on COVID-19, Monday discovered and busted a camp housing persons believed to have been trafficked into the state from some northern states of the country.

Deputy Governor of the state and chairman of the committee, Engr. Benson Abounu led a taskforce of the committee to the camp located at Nos. 12 and 13 on Adikpo Street in what is popularly known as the Hausa Quarters area of Makurdi.

Discovered at the camp were large number of youth mostly in their early twenties living in tightly clustered conditions in gross violation of social distancing directive.

When interviewed, a number of the youth admitted to having been brought into the state from a number of northern states for purpose of seeking job.

Their host (names withheld) admitted that he usually receives the youth from all over the North and house them to enable them ply such artisan trades as tailoring, shoe-making and the likes in the state.

He further said he, however, has not received any new influx of the youth since the COVID-19 lockdown on the state was imposed.

But residents in the area contended that there has been daily influx of youth to the camp even after the imposition of the lockdown.

They said the youth are usually smuggled in late at night in vehicles transporting goods such as food items and other essential consumer items.

An emergency response team of the Benue COVID-19 committee took the vital signs of the youth after which they were taken into isolation for further evaluation, in line with established infection prevention and control (IPC) protocols.

Engr. Abounu also led the committee to visit other potential camps at the food items loading and offloading park on Lagos Close and on Bauchi Street all in Hausa Quarters area.

The deputy governor further directed that regular security patrols be mounted to police the entire Hausa Quarters area, adding that same measures would be applied to any area where violations of the lockdown were recorded.

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