Security agencies have been ordered by the Federal Government to enforce regulations put in place by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the daily briefings of the PTF in Abuja noted that the move became necessary after it considered the virulent nature of the second wave of infections as well as the dangers associated with the new strain of the virus particularly B117.
According to him, there was an urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.
He said: ‘’The PTF also wishes to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that sanctions and punishments (including jail terms and fines) have been prescribed for violators of the provisions under the Regulations.
‘’All law enforcement agencies have been fully briefed and instructed to enforce the law within the appropriate limits’.’
Mustapha also noted that restrictions on gathering of more than 50 persons and wearing of face masks that cover the nose and mouth have been restored and backed by law. He appealed to all sub-national entities to remain conscious of the rising numbers and associated fatalities.
‘’Social distancing of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons.
‘’Gathering of more than 50 persons shall not hold in an enclosed except for religious purposes in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space;
‘’Operations of Public Places such as Markets (including open markets), Malls, Supermarkets, Shops, Restaurants, Hotels, Event Centres, Gardens, Leisure Parks, Recreation Centres, Motor Parks, Fitness Centres, etc. shall be guided by the observation of the following:
‘’Wearing a face covering that covers the nose and mouth; Facilities are provided for the washing of hands or application of hand sanitiser approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); and
‘’Facilities for checking body temperature are provided and any person found to have a body temperature above 38 degrees Celsius shall be denied entry and advised to immediately seek medical attention’’, he stressed.
Mustapha who further disclosed that at least 70 per cent of the Nigerian population will be vaccinated when the Federal Government takes delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines added that it is a target the government has set for itself and has assured Nigerians that it will do all it can to ensure the goal is achieved.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to wave off conspiracies, stressing that the COVID-19 vaccines that the Federal Government was expecting would be properly screened by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) before administration.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has ordered the Assistant Inspectors General of Police in the seventeen (17) zonal commands and their constituent Commissioners of Police in the thirty-six (36) States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, to carry out full enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols.
According to a statement by the force public relations officer CP Frank Mba, the IGP stated that the order follows directive by the President as contained in the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021.
According to the statement, the order mandates the Nigeria Police Force and other agencies of Government mentioned therein to ensure full enforcement of the Regulations in public places – places of worship, workplace and schools, banks, public transport vehicles, hostels, boarding houses, detention centres, etc – and general restrictions on gatherings as well as the use of face mask.
The IGP, while noting that the uncertainty and risks engendered by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic have placed additional responsibilities on the general public, calls on citizens to voluntarily comply with the provisions of the Regulations for the safety of all.
He however, cautioned officers enforcing the regulations to show tact, compassion and empathy with the citizens. He reiterates that the officers must be firm and professional and at the same time remain polite, civil and respect the fundamental rights of the citizens.