Face Mask: 100 Arrested In Abuja As FG Shutdown Markets For Violating Executive Order On COVID-19

No fewer than 100 violators of the Federal Government’s Executive Order on compulsory wearing of face masks were arrested in Abuja on Monday.

The FCT ministerial enforcement task-team on COVID-19 arrested the persons for violating an Executive Order recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The reporter visited Eagle Square, Abuja, where those arrested for different violations of the COVID-19 safety protocols were paraded before a mobile court and convicted by a magistrate.

Speaking to Enugu Reporter at the venue, the spokesperson of the task team, Attah Ikharo, said the violators’ arrest followed a visit to Wuse Market and UTC Shopping Complex, amongst others, where the officials observed “large violations” of the Executive Order.

“In line with the presidential order, today we went around town and about 100 persons were arrested and were brought before the court. As you can see them here being tried, some are being sentenced and as we move on, some of them paid their fine returned home or places of work.

“A particular guy there, a minor, was discharged and acquitted based on his age. He was actually warned to put on his face mask and was discharged to go home. Beside that one, the magistrate in her wisdom discovered that the violations at Wuse Market, UTC and Murg Plaza opposite UTC is very high, so she ruled that the three properties be sealed for some days pending compliance,” he said.

Ikharo said Wuse Market, UTC Shopping Complex and other locations where the violations were observed would be sealed from Monday midnight.

To this end, Federal Government has ordered shut down of the popular Wuse Market and UTC Shopping Complex in Abuja over violations of COVID-19 safety protocols by both traders and customers.

Ikharo confirmed the development, saying the decision followed what he called “large violations” of the Executive Order on the compulsory wearing of face masks signed by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

Speaking at the meeting point of the task force at the Eagle Square, Abuja, Ikharo said Wuse Market, UTC Shopping Complex and Murg Plaza opposite UTC, amongst others, would be shut down for three days beginning from 12:00 midnight on Monday.

He also told us that no fewer than 100 persons were arrested at the aforementioned locations for various violations of COVID-19 protocols.

Ikharo said some of the violators were sentenced to prison, while others were made to pay fines. One of the arrested persons, a minor, was discharged based on his age.

“…the magistrate in her wisdom discovered that the violations at Wuse Market, UTC and Murg Plaza opposite UTC is very high, so she ruled that the three properties be sealed for some days (three days) pending compliance,” he said.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had signed the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021 which officially makes non-compliance to wearing of face masks in public places a punishable offence.

The regulations stipulate that any person convicted for violating the safety protocols risked six months imprisonment, a fine or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.

“Any person who, without reasonable cause, contravenes a direction given under Parts 1 and 2 of these regulations commits an offence. Any person who, without reasonable cause, obstructs an authorised official from enforcement of these regulations commits an offence,” the document states.

Buhari had directed the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant local government, state and Federal governments’ agencies to enforce the regulations.

Abuja Market Mgmt To Impose ‘No Mask, No Trade’ Policy

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