Written by Sarah NEGEDU

COVID-19: 104 docked for guideline violation in FCT

At least 104 persons were, last week, arrested and arraigned before an Abuja Mobile Court for violating the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulation, 2021.

The offenders, who were picked from different parts of the FCT, were said to have be arrested for failing to wear facemasks in public places.

Our correspondent gathered that 33 violators were on Monday apprehended around Wuse by the FCT Covid-19 Enforcement Taskforce, while 47 others were arrested on Tuesday from Bannex plaza and EFAB mall at Wuse 2 and Area 11 respectively. Another 22 persons were on Thursday picked up from Utako, Jabi and Kado Market.

The violators who pleaded guilty to the one-count charge, were fined N2,000 with an option of engaging in supervised community service.

The presiding Magistrate, Idayat Akanni, who at all sittings counselled the convicts on the need to follow the COVID-19 protocols religiously, noted that those who pleaded not guilty would be remanded in a correctional facility.

Earlier, the Prosecutor before the court, Udeme Umana, had informed the court that the affected persons were found not wearing facemasks, and some of them, who had one, were not wearing it properly.

He revealed that they were apprehended by the FCT Covid-19 Enforcement Taskforce, from Garki, Wuse, Utako, Jabi and Kado Market for the said offence.

Reacting to the development, the Head, Media and Enlightenment of FCTA COVID-19 Enforcement team, Comrade Ikharo Attah, vowed that the taskforce would not relent to enforce strict adherence to the established health regulations.

He noted that FCT minister, Muhammad Bello, has reiterated his commitment to keeping the nation's capital disease free.

Attah noted that the officials during its routine enforcement exercise that led to the arrest of the defaulters had an invasion of arrest by a trader at Wuse Market, disclosing that mobile court had issued an order for the arrest of the person at large, to ensure justice is served.

He added that the chairman of the enforcement taskforce, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, has also assured of his unrelenting efforts in giving the required backing to the enforcement.

Attah, who blamed the rise in cases of violation blamed this on COVID-19 fatigue, stressing that, “The mobile court sits every day and violators will continually be arraigned.  I think people are becoming COVID-19 fatigue, a little bit tired of wearing of facemasks, washing their hands and maintaining the protocols, but we will sustain the enforcement.”

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