By Monsuru Olowoopejo
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has signed the bill empowering security agencies to arrest residents that flout directives aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus in the state, into law.
Sanwo-Olu signed the bill tagged Lagos State Infectious Diseases Regulation 2020, into law on Friday, at the State House Marina, barely 24 hours after the State House of Assembly passed the bill.
After signing the bill into law, the governor stated that the law has further given legal backing to the ongoing enforcement of restrictive measures being taken by the State Government to contain the spread of the virus.
The regulation, Sanwo-Olu said, prescribes stringent penalties to defaulters of directives and guidelines issued by the Government to stop community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
As cases of COVID-19 surges, Sanwo-Olu said he would not rule out possible lockdown of the State in the coming days, as allowed by the law.
While urging residents to brace for tougher measures., the Governor, however, said the treatment and management of the confirmed cases at Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) had not overwhelmed the State.
Going by the nature of spread of the virus in other countries, the Governor said every human was at risk of contracting the disease, stressing that the response strategy to defeat the pandemic required a collective effort and cooperation of residents.
“I have said again and again that this fight is a collective one; we are all in it together,” he added.
Earlier, the law empowered the governor to spend at least N20 billion to combat the pandemic in the state, also required that a Trust Fund named Coronavirus Pandemic Trust Fund with a board to manage this, but supervised by the Executive, should be established.
“The Trust fund shall consist of funds and material donations from individuals, private and public organizations. As from the commencement of this law, only essential services such as food supply, pharmacy, shops, water supply, petrol filling Stations and other relevant agencies shall be in full operations unless the Governor declares otherwise.
“All security agencies in the state including the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency shall effectively ensure that the policy directives of the Governor are implemented and enforced.
“Where there is a violation of a close-down or stay at home order, security Agencies shall have the power to arrest without warrant and may detain any person who violates the close-down or stay at home order for at least 48 hours.
“Where the arrested person is found guilty, the person is liable to a fine of N100,000.00 or one-month imprisonment or three months Community service.”