Petroleum tanker drivers will have to adhere to the government directives on personal hygiene and social distancing or risk facing stiff penalties.
The National Chairman, Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association of Nigeria, Salimon Oladiti said this on a phone interview with the Sunrise on Channels TV, Sunday morning.
According to him, there will be a task force presence across locations in the country to ensure that the petroleum tanker drivers are fully kitted with gloves, sanitizers and nose masks.
He said, “being of essential services to this nation, we have directed all our members across the country that they should be fully kitted with gloves, sanitizers and nose masks.
“As from Monday, any of our members that do not comply with this directive will not be allowed to enter any petroleum depot in the country, and we already have a task force to ensure full compliance”.
He added that in line with the social distancing directives, tanker drivers would only be allowed to carry one person along, either an auxiliary driver or a motor boy.
“We have a taskforce spread across the country to enforce this directive. It is a task that must be done to ensure the safety of our lives and our people,” he stated.
Over the weekend, several states have activated lockdown on their land borders, restricting entry of vehicles in order to check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The only exceptions to this lockdown are vehicles transporting petroleum products or food items.
Also speaking about the COVID-19 and transportation on Sunrise, Former commissioner for transport, Lagos state Mr. Kayode Opeifa, urged Lagosians to adhere to the social distance principles to avoid a total lockdown.
“If we don’t want a lockdown, we have to respect the social distance.
“Most persons I spoke to at Apapa are still thinking of this virus as a rich man’s disease because of the people infected so far. But they forget that the person who work in the rich man’s kitchen can also get infected” he said.
He commended the police force for taking steps to enforce the directives in Lagos but added that enforcement must be stepped up to avoid an astronomical growth of the numbers.
“A survey will show that some are complying and some are not complying. The transportation sector is the most important place to enforce social distancing because so far this is the only way to stop it.
“Passengers should be made to understand that as soon as they see the buses overcrowded, they should alight or they will be forced to do so at the next stop” he stated.
Why does this matter
The Lagos state government had issued a directive to commercial bus drivers to only fill their buses to 60% of its potential passenger capacity, in order to avoid overcrowding and to stop the spread of the COVID-19.
They are also supposed to provide handwashing equipment and hand sanitizers for passengers to use before boarding the buses.
However, this directive has not seen full compliance from the commercial drivers, as some still default.
By the evening of Saturday, March 28, Lagos has 59 confirmed cases of the COVID-19.