Security personnel in Gulu City on Saturday impounded over 160 motorcycles for violating the presidential directives to curb the spread of COVID-19.
President Yoweri Museveni has since March when the COVID-19 outbreak was first reported in the country, maintained lockdown on the operations of boda-bodas to carry passengers. They are only permitted to delivery of items up to 5pm in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus.
Emmanuel Mafundo, the Gulu District Police Commander, revealed that the intercepted motorcycles were operating beyond the 7pm curfew time while others were carrying passengers in contravention of standard operating procedures.
Mafundo explained that police have commenced issuance of Express Penalty Scheme receipts as a punitive measure to stop the vice. He added that it is challenging to arrest and prosecute the offenders because Gulu Central Prison is not accepting inmates due to the COVID-19 situation.
Sheikh Musa Khelil, the Acholi District Khadi, a member of Gulu District COVID-19 Task Force, also expressed concern about the continuous flouting of the Presidential directives by the cyclists.
Jimmy Otema, another member of the Task Force, argues that the extended lockdown against boda-boda transport operators has got the far-reaching economic impact that government and law enforcers should consider.
Thomas Okot Oboma, the Chairperson of Acholi Sub-Region Boda Boda Association explains that the COVID-19 situation has adversely impacted on the riders who are struggling to survive amid the extended lockdown.
According to police, all the defaulters are assessed and those culpable are issued express penalty scheme between the range of 40,000 to 100,000 Shillings.
Gulu’s COVID-19 tally is 163. However, 128 of the patients have been discharged while 51 cases remain active in the treatment centre at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.