Edo State deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, has hinted that non compliance with the Covid-19 pandemic protocol may result in offenders being jailed.
He made the disclosure while addressing a new outfit that the state government set up to monitor compliance across the state.
The State Government deployed a batch of 200 constabulary police officers to three Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state to enforce strict compliance with the state’s coronavirus (COVID-19) safety protocol.
The enforcement team stormed markets, parks, eateries and banks to arrest defaulters who flouted government’s directive on compulsory wearing of facemasks in public.
The constables were deployed to Oredo Local Government Area (LGA), Ikpoba Okha and Egor LGAs, with a charge to arrest those not wearing facemasks in public.
Addressing the constabulary police officers in Benin City, Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, charged them on professionalism in enforcing compliance.
He said anyone found not wearing facemask in public will be arrested and taken to the testing centre for compulsory testing.
According to him, “You are going for a very important assignment to enforce the COVID-19 safety protocol. You have been deployed to Oredo, Egor and Ikpoba-Okha LGAs to make sure that all the eateries have hand wash facilities and to ensure social distancing among the customers visiting the eateries.
“We must ensure all the eateries and banks are not crowded. People must line up for easy entry. All the drivers, both private and commercial and their passengers must put on face masks.
While conducting the enforcement team across markets, parks, eateries and banks in Benin metropolis, he said, “the enforcement has started, those that were caught today are lucky that they were not taken to tribunal. And we gave them that opportunity to go and rethink and obey the law. They may not be lucky next time. We have the Police constabulary in place, and the state Public Work Volunteer (PUWOV) and other partners have also contributed men and materials for this cause.
“The state government is determined to enforce COVID-19 safety protocol at all levels, what we have done today is just to officially start the commencement of strict enforcement.”
He added: “The enforcement is not just for motorists; it is also for pedestrians. We are also looking at banks, eateries and commercial areas. We started from our own hospital, the Edo Specialist Hospital, to make sure they complied with this directive.
“Most of our people think they are wearing the facemask to do the government a favour; I think we need to change this narrative and we are working to change that narrative.
“Some are not wearing facemasks properly; these are some of the things we need to educate them about. Thank God we have been able to pass the message that covering your nose is helping yourself and your neighbor.
He said mobile courts have been set up and anybody caught will be arrested and prosecuted, adding, “the fine may be small, the punishment may be big. The biggest of them all is the conviction; if you are convicted, just know that you have become an ex-convict.”