The Imo State Government has disbanded its task force on state emblem for causing the death of over 3,000 day-old chicks driven from Kaduna into the state.
The government also disbanded all other task forces in the state.
The state’s commissioner for transport, Rex Anunobi, who confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES, Friday, said Governor Hope Uzodinma ordered the disbandment of the task forces during the state executive council meeting after listening to the submission on the incident from the state’s commissioner for livestock development.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Imo task force officials and some police officers in Owerri impounded a Toyota Sienna which had 8,000 day-old chicks inside it.
Over 3,000 of the chicks died inside the vehicle because of their exposure to the heat from the sun.
The police officers and the task force officials demanded the Imo State emblem from the minivan driver, even though the vehicle had a ‘consolidated’ emblem, which is said to be a permit for vehicles that often travel through different states in the country.
Various states in Nigeria, for the purposes of revenue-generation, require commercial vehicle owners to affix a state emblem on their vehicle.
“Is the day-old chicks you are carrying more important than the (police) uniform I am wearing?” the driver said one of the officers told him, when he informed him that the chicks could die because of the heat from the sun.
“The governor took exception to all those things (the incident),” the commissioner for transport, Mr Anunobi, said. “All task forces have been banned in the state.”
Mr Anunobi, whose ministry supervised the task force on emblem, said task force officials in the state had “constituted themselves into nuisance.”
The commissioner thanked PREMIUM TIMES for its reporting on the incident.
“There is always a human factor in government, you send people out, you give people mandate and they can be overzealous. But the most important thing is the government taking responsibility, finding amicable resolution, and equally taking further steps to stop such an incident and now be able to regulate the conduct of…. Even if we are going to drive revenue.
“As a matter of fact, our revenue now is on treasury single account. Nothing like a task force collecting money or molesting people again,” the commissioner said.
Chijioke Nicholas, the chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Imo State, said the Imo State government has agreed to pay compensation to the owner of the dead chicks.
Mr Nicholas described Governor Uzodinma’s response to the incident as being “quick.”
“I think it’s a good step in the right direction,” he added.
There have been reports of harassment of farmers transporting produce across different Nigerian states, despite the looming food shortage in the country.