By Olajide Idowu
Osogbo – The Osun Joint Task Force on COVID-19, on Monday, arrested some residents of the state in Osogbo, the state capital, for improper use and/or failure to wear face masks.
The task force said that the arrests had become necessary in view of the alleged failure of the affected people to comply with the safety rules of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the directives of the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the task force had swooped on motorists and pedestrians, arresting those who were either not wearing face marks or not putting them on properly.
NAN also reports that the taskforce comprised of police and NSCDC personnel, officials of the state Road Transport Emergency Agency as well members of the state security outfit, Amotekun.
Some pedestrians, who were not wearing face marks, however, quickly ran back on sighting the taskforce from afar, while those putting their face masks below their chins quickly adjusted them to cover their noses.
NAN reports that the state Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Alabi, had, on Sunday, announced that starting from Monday, government would begin to impose stiffer penalties on residents flouting the COVID-19 safety measures.
Alabi, who is also the Chairman of the task force, also rolled out fines that defaulters of the state COVID-19 rules and directives would pay for violating the safety protocols.
He said that the measure had become imperative because of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state, occasioned by some individuals and institutions’ flagrant disregard for government’s guidelines.
“Hotels, clubs and bars that flout the COVID-19 safety protocols will be closed and fined N250,000 each before they can be allowed to reopen.
“Defaulting worship centres will also be closed and fined N100,000 each before they can be allow to reopen.
“Private hospitals caught treating COVID-19 patients will have their establishments shut and the owners’ practising licenses withdrawn.
“Individuals, who flout the safety protocols of the state government, after being tried, shall be sentenced to community service.
“Motorcycles that exceed the approved loading capacity shall be seized and fined N2,000 each, while buses and mini-buses that violate the approved loading capacity shall be seized and fined N5,000 each,” he had said. (NAN)