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Read Osun Legal Framework For The Enforcements Of Restraints To Curb Spread Of Covid-19

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OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND HON. COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE OF THE STATE OF OSUN.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES AND RESTRAINTS TO CONTAIN THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN THE STATE OF OSUN TO SAFEGUARD PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY—
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S ADVISORY.

Background
1. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that has resulted in serious illness and deaths. It is caused by a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans and easily spread from person to person. There is currently no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment for this disease.
2. It has become a Global Pandemic leading to Community lockdowns and drastic emergency intervention to contain the spread and its deadly trail of fatality and threat. The index case of the virus infection was identified in the State of Osun on Wednesday 25th of March 2020, notwithstanding the many proactive measure already adopted and put in place by the Government of the state, which has ensured the containment of the virus and limited its spread in the state thus far.
3. The Advisory herein is therefore necessary as a Restatement of the extant criminal law provisions and others which will serve as sanctions and deterrence for non-compliance with Public Order and directives made by the government for Public Health and Public Safety, with regards to the said Convid-19 Pandemic.

4. Prohibited Activities to Curb the Spread of COVID-19
4.1 Measures and Applicable Law

​4.2 Prevention and prohibition of gatherings​
Outright Ban of Public Gatherings in the State under any banners or Organisations – Schools, Churches, Mosques, Traditional worship and Social and Cultural activities, Night Clubs, Sports Arena etc.

A Law Enforcement Officer must, where such prohibited gathering takes place—

Order the persons at the gathering to disperse immediately; and

• If they refuse to disperse, take appropriate action, which may, subject to the Criminal Code Law, Cap 34, Laws of Osun State, 2002 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) include arrest and detention.

4.3 Guidelines on Measures for general Public Transport:
i. All Transport Operators and local park managers are expected to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation exercise at their parks and garages regularly and continuously(at least before and after each trip).

ii. All Transport operators and local park managers are to provide hand washing facilities with soap and running water at the entrance to their respective parks/garages.
iii. All Transport operators and local parks are required to have alcohol based Sanitizers in their Vehicles for the use of Drivers, Conductors and Passengers.

iv. All Transport operators and local parks are not allowed to over crowd/over load their vehicles, more especially at this time. Passengers spacing must be fully observed with at least two metres (5 feet) distance between anyone showing symptoms of Respiratory illness, as required by the National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC).

v. No standing in all public mass transit Buses and a minimum of one Seat space between Passengers should be observed.

vi. All Buses should be at 60% capacity, that is, not fully loaded (i.e. Korope and other Commercial Buses).

vii. All commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Riders must not carry or load their vehicles above stipulated capacity (1 passenger and 3 passengers respectively).

viii. Passengers are required to scrub their hands with soap and water for minimum of 20 seconds or use alcohol based Sanitizer before and after each trip.

ix. All Drivers and Conductors should always wear hand gloves and nose guards while in transit.

x. All Public Transport Operators/Company must have temperature readers to test each passenger before boarding the Bus.

xi. Passengers are also required to regularly wash their hands with soap and running water before and after each trip.

xii. All Transport Operators/Company, local parks Managers and Passengers are required to report any suspected case of COVID-19 to the Ministry of Works and Transport on Telephone number 07061061154 or call State of Osun Ministry of Health Helplines 08035025692, 08033908772, 08056456250 or call the State of Osun toll free Emergency Helpline on 293.

xiii. Members of the general Public are also required to report all transport Operators/Companies, local park Managers that fail to comply with the above guidelines to the Monitoring Officer at sight or write to the Ministry of Works and Transport, stating the Vehicle Registration Number, the Park and the Time of non-compliance.

A Law Enforcement Officer who observes excess passengers in any commercial transport must:

(a) Direct the driver of such transport to immediately disembark the excess passengers; and

(b) If such driver refuses, take appropriate action, which may, subject to the Road Traffic Law, Cap 146, Laws of Osun State, 2002 include impounding the vehicle, motorcycle or tricycle and/or subject to the Criminal Code Law, Cap 34 Laws of Osun State, 2002 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) include arrest and detention.

4.4 Refusal of Medical Examination, Prophylaxis’, Treatment, Isolation and Quarantine
Any person

Who has been clinically, or by a laboratory, confirmed as having COVID19, or who is suspected of having contracted COVID-19, or who has been in contact with a person who is a carrier of COVID-19:-

(a) Shall submit to a medical examination, including but not limited to the taken of any bodily sample by a person authorized in law to do so
(b) Shall submit to mandatory prophylaxis, treatment, and isolation or quarantine or isolation in order to prevent transmission.
A Law Enforcement Officer faced with a person unwilling to comply with this directive

(1) Shall with the help and under the guidance of an authorized medical practitioner use reasonable force to ensure that such person is arrested, transported and securely placed in isolation or quarantine at the authorized State of Osun Isolation Centre.
(2) Shall apply to a magistrate court for a warrant for the detention of such person in the isolation centre in the case of a person who has been clinically confirmed to have contracted COVID 19, or for a detention period of 48 hours for a person whose status is yet to be confirmed to enable medical examination be carried out as contemplated in paragraph (a).
(3) This warrant must include an oath or affirmation by the Law Enforcement officer that:
(a) The person is confirmed as having been infected with COVID-19; or
(b) The person is on reasonable grounds suspected of having contracted COVID-19, or
(c) The person has been in contact with, or on reasonable grounds suspected to have been in contact with a person who is a carrier or infected with COVID-19.
4.5 Prohibition of Unauthorized Persons in Places of Quarantine and Isolation

It is the responsibility of Law Enforcement Officers to ensure the security of designated places of quarantine and isolation in the State. Only authorized persons with verified identification must be allowed into these places.

A Law enforcement officer shall, where unauthorized persons seek to gain entrance into places of quarantine and isolation:

(a) Order such person(s) to leave immediately;
(b) If such person(s) refuse to leave, take appropriate action, which may, subject to the Criminal Code Law, Cap 34, Laws of Osun State, 2002 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic ofNigeria, 1999 (as amended) include arrest and detention.
4.6. Applicable Law for the Prosecution of Offenders

Law Enforcement Officers are invited to note the provisions of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 34, Laws of Osun State, 2002 as they apply to the prosecution of persons who fail to comply with or contravene the measures adopted by the Government of Osun State.

(1) Any person who—
Convenes the outright ban on Public gathering; or

(b) Permits Public gathering in a premises for any religious, social or political gathering;
(c) Being an operator or driver of a commercial vehicle, motorbike or tricycle carries excess passengers—or
(d) Being a proprietor, owner or person in charge of a school, permits its use for educational or any other purpose,
Seeks to gain unlawful entry into an isolation center,

(f) Hinders, interferes with, or obstructs a Law Enforcement Officer in the exercise of his or her powers, or the performance of his or her duties in terms of these measures,

May be prosecuted for an offence under the provisions of Sections 61, 202 and 203 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 34, and Laws of Osun State 2002.

(2) Any person who –

(a) Intentionally misrepresents that he, she or any other person is infected with COVID-19

May be prosecuted for an offence under the
Criminal Code Law, Cap 34, and Laws of Osun State, 2002.

(3) Any person who –
(a) Publishes any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person or the public about— (i) COVID-19;

(2) COVID-19 infection status of any person; or​
(3) Any measure taken by the Government to address COVID- 19,
May be prosecuted for an offence under Section 60 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 34, Laws of Osun State, 2002

(4) Any person who-
(a) Intentionally exposes another person to COVID-19

May without prejudice to the provisions of Section 247b of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 34, Laws of Osun State, be prosecuted for the offence of assault, attempted murder or murder as applicable in the circumstance.
Law Enforcement officers are invited to note that there is no time limit to commence criminal proceedings against persons who violate these measures. Given the existing public health situation and the need to avoid overcrowding of places of detention. it may be desirable to grant immediate administrative bail to deserving offenders with a view to commencing prosecution at a later date.

5. Respect for Citizens’ Fundamental Human Rights

The Government of the State of Osun is committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of all those living in the State of Osun regardless of their gender, ethnic origin, economic status, religion or any other attribute.
None of the measures adopted by Government to mitigate spread of COVID-19 should be interpreted to give any Law Enforcement Officer the power to violate the rights of any citizen except under circumstances prescribed by Law.
All Law Enforcement Officers shall in the course of enforcing state sanctioned measures for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 ensure respect for and observance of constitutional provisions on Human Rights as provided for in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended).

Where a Law Enforcement Officer willfully and unlawfully violates the rights of a citizen, such conduct amounts to gross misconduct and such officer may be liable to criminal prosecution without prejudice to the right of the victim to seek civil remedies including compensation.

6. Suspension of public visits to places of detention
It is advisable that heads of Law Enforcement Agencies consider the desirability of suspending visits by members of the public to:

(a) The State Correctional Center;

(b) Holding Police Cells.

For a period of 30 days from the date of publication of this advisory, which period may be extended for any period as determined by the evolving situation.

Issued Under My Hand and Seal

This…………….day of………………..​.2020.

Oluwafemi Akande
Honourable Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice
State of Osun
Federal Republic of Nigeria

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