By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The Ogun state government on Thursday said defaulters of the mandatory use of face masks risk six months in jail, with effect from the 4th of August, 2020.
The Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun while giving updates on efforts aimed at flattening the curve of community transmission of COVID-19, announced extra measures aimed at ensuring adherence to protocols for preventing the spread of the virus, including enforcing a law that prescribes six months imprisonment for people who are seen in public without wearing a face mask.
“Starting from August 4, Police and security agencies have been empowered to arrest and prosecute those seen in public without face masks,” a statement signed by Mr Kunle Somorin, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abiodun said.
“Since wearing of face masks in the public is now compulsory and the Governor has invoked powers conferred on him by Regulation 7 of the Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations No. 2 of 2020 (the Regulations), made pursuant to Section 33 of the Public Health Law of Ogun State (the Law), it has become compulsory by all persons in public to wear face masks as part of measures to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
“Failure to do so is punishable by up to six months imprisonment under Regulation 8 of the Regulations and Section 68 of the Law.”
“The State Government will not watch individuals endanger the lives of others; we will come up with new protocols that will be enforced by the task force and security agencies.
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“Some of the measures include the establishment of more mobile courts to handle defaulters of the protocols and introduction of new COVID-19 guidelines in public places, schools and worship centres to ensure that the spread of the virus is checked in the state.
“We cannot fold our hands and allow our people suffer from COVID-19; tricycles and commercial buses that flout the directives on the number of passengers will also be impounded.
“In churches and other public places, there must be reasonable social-distancing, and if you have a shop and you continue to attend to people without masks, your shop will be closed down,” the statement added.