Edo begins arrest, prosecution of COVID-19 safety protocol defaulters

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The Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu has charged the 200 constabulary police officers deployed to Egor, Ikpoba-Okha and Oredo Local Government Areas of the State to arrest those not wearing face masks in public.

Addressing the constabulary police officers in Benin City, Shaibu commissioned them to enforce strict compliance of the COVID-19 safety protocol and anyone found not wearing face mask in public should be arrested and taken to the testing center for compulsory testing.

He added that mobile courts have been set up and anybody caught would be arrested and prosecuted.

“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,” Shaibu told them.

The Deputy Governor, while conducting the enforcement team across markets, parks, eateries and banks in Benin metropolis, caught some defaulters, but were however pardoned.

“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 too officially start the commencement of strict enforcement.

“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 face mask to do the government a favour; I think we need to change this narrative and we are working to change that narrative.

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“Some are not wearing face masks 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.

“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,” Shaibu said.

The enforcement team has started checks on markets, parks, eateries and banks to arrest defaulters who flouted government’s directive on compulsory wearing of face masks in public.