An Abuja Mobile court Monday shut down the popular Wuse Market, the UTC and the Murg Shopping Plazas for violating the Presidential regulations on COVID-19.
The same court also convicted about 100 persons who were arrested by the Enforcement team for not wearing facemasks in public places.
This came barely six days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021.
Buhari, in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010, and all other powers enabling him; and in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, issued Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021.
This means that the health and safety protocols and guidelines issued by the PTF on COVID-19, on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), shall be binding on all persons and any violation shall be a punishable offence in Nigeria.
The same regulations were also rectified by FCTA three days ago, with a directive by FCT Minister authorising security agencies to arrest anyone violating the guidelines.
The court presided by Magistrate Idayat Akanni fined the violators N2,000 each, with an option of 2 weeks community service.
She also explained that the convicts were given lesser penalties, because they were first offenders.
Also speaking, the Head, Media and Enlightenment of the FCTA COVID-19 Enforcement team, Ihkaro Attah, said the situation at the shutdown markets were such that no responsible government would pretend not to see.
Attah noted that the Presidential regulations specifically said that management of public business facilities should take full responsibility of enforcing the COVID-19 regulations, but these markets defaulted in all aspects.
According to him, the market and plazas disregarded the guidelines and did not make provision for the health safety requirements.
He added that the court has said the shutdown order can only be vacated when the management of the facilities comply with the regulations.
Attah said: “the Presidential Regulations has given our enforcement team the teeth to bite and the FCT Minister has also given his backing for the full implementation of the Presidential regulations”.
Meanwhile, the arrest and prosecution of Abuja residents who violated the COVID-19 protocols by not wearing masks have sent signals to other people in the nation’s capital to always comply.
It would be recalled that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Bello last Friday disclosed that there is no enforcement against the pandemic at the rural level.
Bello called on Area Council chairmen, traditional rulers and security operative during an urgent meeting to ensure that they adhere to the recently enacted law by President Muhammadu Buhari regarding the COVID-19.
Source: The Nation