•We’re Meticulous on Issuance of Tag – Govt
By Ismaeel Utbman
Security agents enforcing the lockdown order
declared by the State Government of Osun
have decried the proliferation of the Special Duty Tags produced by the government for essential workers for them to be able to move freely during the stay-at-home period.
This is just as OSUN DEFENDER gathered that some residents of the state who are not on essential duties have embarked on self-production of the tag, which might responsible for the proliferation.
Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Federal Road Safety Corps who are manning barricades on major roads to prevent vehicular movement have constantly been complaining about the copious people carrying the special duty tags around.
The development had compelled the security agents to be demanding for Identity Cards from carriers of the tag to confirm the authenticity of the pass.
An NSCDC officer at Dele Yes Sir Area of Osogbo lamented that ‘even commercial motorcyclists that we know’ are carrying these special duty tags around.’
The officer, whose name could not be mentioned accused the government of making the enforcement of the lockdown order difficult for security agents, since it was producing tags massively to non-essential workers.
He said: “This special duty tag you are carrying has lost its value. We do not reckon with it; we prefer you show us your ID card to this. The reason is that almost everybody that has a vehicle would show you this tag. Even the commercial motorcyclists we know are carrying this tag around.
“The government is making our job difficult by issuing tags to non-essential workers massively. Help us to tell the government. We cannot be in the sun enforcing the lockdown order while some people somewhere are compromising the restriction of movement. We have discovered that some people with the special duty tag are not essential workers.”
The same complaint was made by the security agents manning Sekona Junction on the Gbongan-Ibadan Road, Sekona when OSUN DEFENDER was stopped for enquiry.
According to the security agents on duty, carrying the special duty tag is not enough as it must be supported with ID card or official letter to prove that the carrier is on essential work.
They argued that a lot of people with the tag had been denied movement because they had no documents to support the pass, which was an indication that they got the special duty tag through the back door.
Also, NSCDC officers at the entrance of the commission’s headquarters at Oke-Ayepe, Osogbo, have been questioning the carriers of the tag on the type of jobs they do which gave them access to the tag.
The medium was not spared from the question and upon identification, the NSCDC officers explained that the there is proliferation of the special duty tags as virtually every vehicle owner has it.
They stated further that they needed to know the real people whose jobs require the tag and as a result need to move freely during the lockdown.
OSUN DEFENDER noted that fake special duty tags were being paraded by some residents of the state.
It was observed that the colour of the fake tag is different from those produced by the state government.
The colour of the fake tag is lighter while those produced by the government is deep.
But the Commissioner for Special Duties and Regional Integration, Mr Lekan Badmus said the state government has been meticulous in giving out special duty tags to people, saying that the security agents might not actually know the reasons behind the issuance of the tag to some people.
Badmus said: “The government is very meticulous on the issuance of tag to people and we have reasons for giving the tags to those that have it. For instance, the government is constructing isolation centre and we need artisans on that. Are we not going to give tags to those people? But they are not essential service providers, so if the security agents stop such people and find the tags on them, they would believe that they are not entitled to it.
“The government is preparing salary for the month of April, the civil servants that will do that need tag for them to be able to go to their various ministries. There is no fake tag to the best of my knowledge. The government is thorough and responsible on the issuance of the tag to people. We do not give it to those that do not need it.”
Badmus commended the security agents on duty in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, describing them as a strong pillar of support to the government.