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Emmanuel assents to quarantine, restriction law in Akwa Ibom

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Governor Udom Emmanuel has signed into law Akwa Ibom’s Quarantine and Restriction of Movement Regulations 2020 to check the itinerary of Coronavirus suspects in the state.

The governor, who evoked the powers bestowed on by Sections 4 and 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Section 1 (1) (c) of the Akwa Ibom State Infectious Disease (Control of Spread) Law, 2014, stated that the law takes immediate effect in all of the state’s 31 local councils.

The piece of legislation ran from March 30 to April 30 this year.Emmanuel said: “The new law, which is in effect across the 31 local government areas of the state, is in view of the serious and imminent threat to public health by the pandemic COVID-19, a dangerous infectious disease within the meaning and intendment of Section 2 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

The law further read: “The Quarantine and Restriction of Movement Regulations 2020 signed by Governor Udom Emmanuel, comes into force on March 30, 2020 and will remain in force till April 30, 2020 or for such extended period as may be announced from time to time.”

The law, according to chairman of the Quarantine and Restriction of Movement regulation 2020 Enforcement Committee and the state Commissioner for Police, Imohimi Edgal, is as follows:

“That commercial tricycles are to carry not more than two passengers only. Mini buses to carry one passenger per row. Private vehicles to carry not more than two persons at the back seat and one on the front seat. Public parks, shops, eateries, clubs, restaurants and markets shall remain closed except those for the sale of foodstuffs, drugs and other essential commodities.”

He went on: “All public burials, weddings, and other forms of public gatherings are prohibited. All places of religious worship, churches, mosques are to strictly observe the social distancing prescription of a minimum of one-metre spacing and not more than 20 persons per gathering. Hand washing facilities with running water, soap and sanitisers are also to be provided.

“All borders and roads leading into and out of the state shall remain closed with immediate effect. Exemptions are made for food supplies, recognised security personnel, medical and health workers and others on essential duties.”

Edgal threatened defaulters with prosecution. Also speaking, the state chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Franklyn Isong, stated that the action was long overdue.His words: “What I want to see the governor do now is to roll out some incentives as palliatives to cushion the effects of the sit-at-home order.”

Others appealed to Emmanuel to ensure that food items and related incentives were distributed to the people, adding that the pandemic might not kill people but hunger.

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