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COVID-19: 100 Residents Sentenced To Community Services For Violating Use Of Facemasks

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Photo: A market in Ilesa , Osun State

By Nafisat Arogundade, Osogbo

No fewer than 100 Coronavirus Protocols violators were on Monday sentenced to community services of various degrees by an Osun State Magistrate Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun State capital.

CityMirrorNews reports that the state government had on Monday commenced the total enforcement of COVID-19 safety protocols in the state.

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.

CityMirrorNews 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.

CityMirrorNews 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.

The enforcement was in line with the government resolve to contain the further spread of the deadly virus.

The Deputy Governor who doubles as the Chairman, Osun COVID-19 Taskforce, Mr Benedict Alabi, in a statement, said private hospitals caught treating COVID-19 patients shall have their establishments shut and the owners’ practising licenses withdrawn saying individuals who flout the safety protocols of the State Government, after being tried, shall be sentenced to community service.

Early Monday morning, Osun state Joint Task Force arrested 100 residents of the state for allegedly violating the order of the state government and arraigned them before the state Magistrate court.

State Counsel, M.R Faremi told the court that the arrested violators did conduct themselves in a manner to cause breach of public peace by not following the laid down guide lines in respect to Covid 19 pandemic stipulating by the Osun state government

He further alleged that the offence committed is contrary to and punishable under Section 249(d)(3) of the Criminal Code Law of Osun state 2002.

Ninety-eight convict admitted guilty to the allegation preferred against them while Awotunde Omotola pleaded not guilty to the offence

Defence Councel for the 1st to 54th convicts , Muhydeen Abiodun and S.A Adeoti, who represented 55th to 99th convicted while presenting their allocutus the first conucel said the case is minor refraction, saying some of them were arrested without considering the nature of their health, arguing that using facemasks can aggreviate their health condition

Handling down his ruling, the Chief Magistrate, Mr. Francis Isola Omisade sentenced the first batch of 37 violators to five days community service with an option of N2,000 fine, while the second batch of 19 violators were sentenced to three days community service without option of fine and ordered the remand of Awotunde Omotola in police custody

Omisade said the sentence would serve as deterrent to others on the need for them to be law abiding citizens.

In the same vein, Magistrate Modupe Awodele who presided over the third batch of 52 defaulters, sentenced them to 3days community service with option of N2,000 fine each.

Awodele ordered the convicts to render the punishment under the supervision of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Mrs. Abiodun Ige.

He, thereby adjourned the matter till 5th day of August for hearing of Omotola

Magistrate Modupe Awodele sentence the rest forty-five convict to three days community services.

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