By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Ahead of the crossover night service to usher in the new year, 2021, the Lagos State Government has urged residents and religious leaders to take responsibility by complying with all safety measures imposed by relevant authorities aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 amid the second wave of the virus.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso made the call on Wednesday, while giving clarification on the reported threat by the state government to impose a sanction of N500,000 fine against defaulter of ban on crossover service in the state.
A report (Not by Vanguard Newspapers) had gone viral on Wednesday, earning that Lagosians who violate the 12 am to 4 am curfew imposed by the Federal Government and other protocols could be fined up to xN500,000 when caught.
The government urged all churches in the state to respect the curfew in place and avoid physical crossover services and large gatherings on December 31, 2020.
Omotoso said, “What the state government is saying and interested in for all churches to take responsibility against the spread of COVID-19 by staying from large gatherings of people which could easily spike infection of the virus which is already in its deadlier second wave.
“The state government, led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been clamouring on the need to comply with all safety protocols regarding COVID-19. So, when a reporter from a media organisation called me earlier and asked what would be the punitive sanction against defaulter of a ban on crossover service in the state, my response was that a subsisting public health safety HSS has taken care of that with a fine between N20, 000 and N500,000 on the discretion of the magistrates.
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“The Lagos State Safety Commission with relevant agencies will be monitoring the situation with the aim of ensuring compliance and not fine because the safety of Lagosians is paramount than at other measures.
“We should all guide against sensationalism. Moreso, Christian association has directed their members to shun physical crossover service and employ the use of technology via telecast where members can hook on for the virtual device.”
Omotoso stressed that following the uncertainty as to the actual number of people infected with the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the current spike in the number of infected persons (particularly in Lagos State) and the projected surge in the number of COVID-19 patients, had made it necessary for the Governor of Lagos State and the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020.
The Regulations, he said, aimed at preventing further spread of the virus within the state pursuant to the Lagos State Public Health Law, and Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap Q2 LFN 2004 (the “Quarantine Act”).
The Regulations give the Governor powers to take certain measures geared towards preventing and containing the spread of COVID-19, saving lives, reducing ill health and ensuring that the economy of the state is not weakened as a result of the pandemic.”