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Ekiti to begin enforcement of face masks today, sets up special offences court

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The Ekiti State Government said it would from today begin aggressive enforcement of compulsory use of face masks and observation of physical distancing, with stiffer penalty awaiting defaulters to stem COVID-19 spread.

It also stated that those found breaching the outlined protocols would be prosecuted with appropriate legal sanctions, such as fines and observation of community services imposed as punitive measures.

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The state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who stated this in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, said special offences court had been set up in the state where the violators would be prosecuted.

The governor, who spoke through the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, added that in addition to fines, convicted offenders would be made to undergo community service.

Fapohunda said: “The governor is very concerned about what appears to us to be widespread lack of compliance with the COVID-19 regulations in Ekiti State, particularly with the wearing of face-masks.

“We are concerned that a large and unacceptable number of our people continue to believe that COVID-19 pandemic is not real. The state government is keen to correct that wrong impression. From Monday (today), the state government will begin the enforcement of these regulations.

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“A number of areas that we are going to be looking at will include the wearing of face-masks as well as compliance with various physical distancing regulations, particularly as it relates to places of business, including banks, supermarkets and markets.

“Violators will be arrested and prosecuted in our special offences court. Persons who are convicted may also be required to undertake community service. That is without prejudice to other punitive measures that the presiding magistrate may decide to impose.”

Fapohunda, who reminded transport operators on the need to reject passengers without nose-masks to avoid sanction, added: “Both the cyclist and the offender are liable. Okada riders or indeed the transport operators should also enforce the wearing of face-masks.

“If somebody is not wearing face-mask, no okada rider should carry such person. We have told the road transport union members that before they carry passengers, they must be sure that such passengers wear face-masks. They have the right to reject passengers that are not wearing face-masks. This is not about them; it is about all of us.

“While we are going to vigorously prosecute COVID-19 violators, we are going to do so within the provisions of the constitution and the laws of Ekiti State.”

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