As cases surge, Nigeria slams 6-month jail term on violators of covid protocols
London, Jan. 28, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Nigerians who violate covid protocols will henceforth be jailed for six months or subject to heavy fine
The new law, signed by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday is part of measures to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa’s most populous country
The chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this while handing over five ambulances donated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federal Ministry of Health on Wednesday in Abuja.
The President signed the six-part regulation which covered restrictions on gatherings, operations of public places, mandatory compliance with treatment protocols, offences and penalties, enforcement and application, interpretation and citation.
The law was announced same day Nigeria recorded its second highest COVID-19 deaths in a single day on Wednesday as new cases soared in the country.
1,861 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;— NCDC (@NCDCgov) January 27, 2021
Mustapha said that the bill, titled “COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021”, is an exercise of the powers as conferred on the president by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act.
According to the document, any person who contravenes the provisions of the regulations is punishable by a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.
“In the exercise of the powers conferred upon me by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf; 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, I, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hereby make the following Regulations.
“The first part of the new regulations imposes restrictions of gatherings and enforces a physical distancing of not less than two meters between persons at all times.
“The part also provides that no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.
“All persons in public gatherings, whether in enclosed or open spaces, shall adhere to the provisions of Part two of these Regulations.
“The provisions of these regulations may be varied by Guidelines and Protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the PTF on COVID-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” the law reads.
“The second part of the law addresses operations of public places like open markets, malls, supermarkets, shops, restaurants, hotels, event centres, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, motor parks and fitness centres.
“The law provides for wearing of face masks, hands washing, and the use of hand sanitisers, amongst other regulations.
“It stipulates a penalty of a fine or a prison of six months for offenders. The President said that the law takes immediate effect,” he explained.
Speaking on the donation, the PTF chairman said that the NNPC donated the ambulances to the PTF as part of its support to Government-led efforts in curbing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
According to him, the ambulances donated will be used to support the country’s response to the pandemic and the Emergency Operations Centres to expand the current capacity for transportation of cases.