Security Agents Will Enforce Compliance With COVID-19 Law, FG Says

Chairman of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, says security agencies will henceforth enforce jail term against COVID-19 violators.

Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation, called on the states to set up appropriate structures and systems for COVID-19 regulation enforcement.

It may be recalled that the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, (retd) last week signed a law enforcing observance of non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 protocols.

Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant local government, state and Federal Government agencies were directed to enforce the provisions of thee regulations.

Mustapha said that the bill, titled, “COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021,” is an exercise of the powers as conferred on the President by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act.

The regulations enforce physical distancing of at least two meters and a regulation of the number of people to be admitted in an enclosed environment.

In stating the requirements of the law, Buhari stated, “In the exercise of the powers conferred upon me by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf; and in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, I, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hereby make the following Regulations.

“The first part of the new regulations imposes restrictions of gatherings and enforces a physical distancing of not less than two meters between persons at all times.

“The part also provides that no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.

“All persons in public gatherings, whether in enclosed or open spaces, shall adhere to the provisions of part two of these regulations.

“The provisions of these regulations may be varied by guidelines and protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the PTF on COVID-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”

Also, Mustapha said, “The second part of the law addresses operations of public places like open markets, malls, supermarkets, shops, restaurants, hotels, event centres, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, motor parks and fitness centres.

“The law provides for wearing of face masks, handwashing, and use of hand sanitisers, among others.

“It stipulates a penalty of a fine or a prison term of six months for offenders.

“The President said that the law takes immediate effect.”

He also said all the nation’s security agencies had been briefed to ensure the enforcement of the “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021” signed into law by the President.

“The PTF strongly appeals to all sub-national entities to please remain conscious of the rising numbers and the associated fatalities.

“They are, therefore, required to establish appropriate structures and systems for the enforcement.

“The PTF will continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Governors Forum on the management of this public health emergency because every citizen resides within the jurisdiction of the states.

“The PTF also wishes to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that sanctions and punishments (including jail terms and fines) have been prescribed for violators of the provisions under the regulations.

“All law enforcement agencies have been fully briefed and instructed to enforce the law within the appropriate limits,” Mustapha added.

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