COVID-19: Ekiti establishes special offences court to try safety protocol violators

July 19, 2020
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Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said the state government would from Monday begin aggressive enforcement of safety protocols to check COVID-19.

Fayemi said those found breaching the outlined COVID 19 protocols, will be prosecuted with appropriate legal sanctions, like fines and observation of community services imposed as punitive measures.

The governor expressed worries over the widespread lack of compliance with COVID-19 regulations in the state, especially as it relates to wearing of face mask.

The governor, who spoke through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, in Ado Ekiti, on Sunday, said special offences court where the violators would be prosecuted had been set up in the state

He added that in addition to fines, convicted offenders would be made to undergo community service.

Fayemi, who also described as unacceptable many residents’ belief that the pandemic is not real, said the state government would as from Monday begin strict enforcement.

Fapohunda said, “Mr Governor is very concerned about what appears to us to be the widespread lack of compliance with the COVID-19 regulations in Ekiti State, particularly with the wearing of face masks.

“We are concerned that a large and unacceptable number of our people continue to believe that COVID-19 pandemic is not real. The state government is keen to correct that wrong impression.

“A number of areas that we are going to be looking at will include the wearing of face masks as well as the compliance with various social distancing regulations, particularly as it relates to places of business including banks, supermarkets and markets.

“Violators will be arrested and prosecuted in our special offences court. We are adopting various sanctions in addition to fines, persons who are convicted may also be required to undertake community service. That is without prejudice to other punitive measures that the presiding magistrate may decide to impose”.

Fapohunda, who reminded transport operators on the need to reject passengers without nose masks to avoid sanction, said, “Both the cyclist and the offender are liable. Okada riders or indeed the transport operators should also enforce the wearing of the mask.

“If somebody is not wearing a mask, no okada rider should carry such a person. We have told the road transport union members that before they carry passengers, they must be sure that such passengers are wearing masks. They have the right to reject passengers that are not wearing masks. This is not about them it is about all of us.

“While we are going to vigorously prosecute COVID-19 violators, we are going to do so within the provisions of the constitution and the laws of Ekiti State”, Fapohunda said.

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