By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed displeasure over non-compliance by residents to safety guidelines and directives in the wake of gradual easing of lockdown, warning that the state government would not hesitate to review the terms of easing if the level of compliance continues to nose dive.
Sanwo-Olu, gave the warning while giving an update on COVID-19 situation in the state, during a live broadcast, on Saturday, the 11th in the series.
The governor, Sanwo-Olu, who commended some sectors for their encouraging level of compliance following the ease of the lockdown, frowned at flagrant disregard to safety directives by commercial bus and motorcycle operators, with a strict warning to redress forthwith or face severe sanctions.
According to Sanwo-Olu, “On Monday, May 4, 2020, we commenced a gradual and controlled easing of the 5 weeks lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic. Six days into this new phase, I am here to address you on our assessment of the experience so far.
“In terms of the non-compliance, the list is regrettably much longer. On the first day of this new phase of an eased lockdown, the compliance level for commercial transport sector operations was regrettably very low.
“Yellow commercial buses especially failed to comply with the capacity restrictions outlined in our framework. While compliance has improved in subsequent days, it is still not encouraging.
“Many commercial motorcycle operators openly and indiscriminately defied the suspension.
“The ban on Inter-state travel except for essential goods and services was also consistently flouted. In many cases people decided to make the final leg of the journey into the State on foot, to beat the restrictions.
“Trucks and other vehicles carrying items designated as essential, have also played major roles in flouting the guidelines, by conspiring to conceal and smuggle people in and out of the State.
“The reports about mask usage in public places have also not been encouraging. Many people are still choosing to go out without masks or face coverings of any kind. This is simply unacceptable.
“Let me reiterate that the success of this gradual easing of the lockdown is dependent upon the compliance of each and every one of us.
“As a Government, elected to uphold the security of Lagos State – and this includes health security – let me make it clear that we will not hesitate to review the terms of this easing if we continue to see evidence that Lagosians are determined to flout the rules.
“I am aware that the Presidential Task Force has also made this point; that the continued maintenance of this easing is only guaranteed when people consistently comply.
“Let the numbers we have seen this week stand as a warning to all of you the good people of Lagos State. What we are seeing is child’s play compared to what we could be seeing if we continue to be irresponsible.”
He, however, commended all frontline medical workers, saying, “we will keep working on measures to support each and every one of you.
“We have a psychosocial team tasked with the implementation of support systems and efforts to manage the very real potential for burnout and exhaustion in these times.
“I must also especially thank our waste disposal teams, who do not always get the recognition they deserve for the work they are doing on the frontlines. A good number of them have been infected in the line of duty.
“I would like to use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank you profusely for your service and assure you that we will continue to do everything to safeguard you, by ensuring that the protective equipment you need to do your work are always
available to you.
“Let me finally use this opportunity to remind us all of the Whistleblower Hotlines that we have established, for people to report violations of the orders and restrictions we have issued. The Numbers are: 0901-051-3197; 0901-051-3198; 0901-051-3199.
“We are guaranteeing strict confidentiality of all reports, and the full protection of the identity of all
“Let us all play our part in protecting Lagos from this pandemic.”