All law enforcement agencies have been briefed to ensure that they enforce COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations within the ambit of the law.
Boss Mustapha the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja on Monday.
Mr Mustapha who doubles as the Secretary-General of the Federation (SGF), drew the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that sanctions and punishments (including jail terms and fines) have been prescribed for violators of the provisions under the regulations.
He however noted that “all Law enforcement Agencies have been fully briefed and instructed to enforce the law within the appropriate limits”.
The SGF further reminded all Nigerians that enforcement of the new regulation will be taken seriously and urged all to fully comply.
Below is the full statement by the PTF chairman at the briefing on Monday.
REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR MONDAY, 1ST FEBRUARY, 2021
I welcome you to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) for today, Monday 1st February, 2021.
2. On 30th January, 2020 the WHO declared that the new coronavirus outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern, thus triggering the highest level of concern possible. One year down the line the world has seen over 100 million infections and over two million deaths. As at the same date the situation in Nigeria stood at 130,557 infections with 1,578 fatalities. The Hon Minister of Health and the DG NCDC will elaborate on recent numbers and situation.
3. Since the month of November 2020, the PTF has regularly advised Nigerians about the dangers of non-compliance with protocols put in place to guide our conduct under the eased lockdown phases. We also issued advisories to sub-national entities to ensure strict enforcement of protocols especially as they relate to wearing of masks in public places, large gathering, personal hygiene, reopening of schools, testing etc. All these actions were necessary even as we watched the rising daily number of cases directly attributable to activities of previous weeks. We have also listened to voices of reason that called for enforcement of the measures.
4. After considering the virulent nature of the second wave of infections, the dangers associated with the new strain of the virus particularly B117, and 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,His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria signed the CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) HEALTH PROTECTION REGULATIONS 2021 in 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 in that behalf.
5. The new Regulations which has been given wide publicity covers the following parts:
Part 1: Restrictions on Gatherings
PART 2: Operations of Public Places
PART.3: Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols
PART.4: Offences and Penalties
PART.5: Enforcement and Application
PART 6: Interpretation and Citation
6. Essentially, the following restrictions have been restored and backed by law:
Social distancing of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons.
Gathering of more than 50 persons shall not hold in an enclosed except for religious purposes in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space;
Operations of Public Places such as Markets (including open markets), Malls, Supermarkets, Shops, Restaurants, Hotels, Event Centres, Gardens, Leisure Parks, Recreation Centres, Motor Parks, Fitness Centres, etc. shall be guided by the observation of the following:
Wearing a face covering that covers the nose and mouth;
Facilities are provided for the washing of hands or application of hand sanitiser approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); and
Facilities for checking body temperature are provided and any person found to have a body temperature above 38 degrees Celsius shall be denied entry and advised to immediately seek medical attention.
7. The Regulations also places some responsibilities on the operators and occupiers of premises for the enforcement of these laws. They are required to
Make provision for safe hygiene facilities;
Enforce provision of temperature checks prior to entry into the establishment;
Enforce provisions and use of face-covering within the establishment;
Ensure that their customers queue up and are attended to serially while complying with physical distancing measures and avoiding overcrowding; and
Generally, ensure compliance with the provisions of these Regulations.
8. The PTF strongly appeals to all sub-national entities to please remain conscious of the rising numbers and the associated fatalities. They are therefore required to establish appropriate structures and systems for the enforcement. The PTF will continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Governors Forum on the management of this public health emergency because every citizen resides within the jurisdiction of the states.
9. The PTF also wishes to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that sanctions and punishments (including jail terms and fines) have been prescribed for violators of the provisions under the Regulations. All Law enforcement Agencies have been fully briefed and instructed to enforce the law within the appropriate limits.
10. The processes for accessing and procuring vaccines for Nigerians has advanced and we continue to ensure that it will be safe and effective for Nigerians when eventually we procure it. As you are aware, the whole world is pursuing the same commodity and we have to secure our source while at the same time preparing our infrastructure and capacity for administration. The Executive Director (NPHCDA) will update you accordingly.
11. Closely associated with this, the PTF met with leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on sensitization preparatory to the Vaccine Rollout today, 1st February, 2021. The meeting was robust and positive. You will recall that the PTF had previously met with the National Council of Traditional Rulers (NCTR), the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) and National Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC) on Primary Health Care. We shall intensify close consultation with major stake holders and other faith based organisations to increase awareness among Nigerians.
12. At the last briefing, we informed you that the President has authorized the extension of all measures in place, including the limitation of the categories of workers allowed to come to the office to those above GL 12. The PTF has received reports that MDA are compelling their workers in the categories barred from the office, to report for work. For the avoidance of doubts, all employees from GL 12 and below shall continue to work from home and no Agency is allowed to vary this instruction. Permanent Secretaries and CEOs are to ensure strict compliance.
13. Last week we received two batches of 860 Nigerian deportees from Saudi Arabia. They were received in Abuja by our multi-sectoral teams and have all commenced the post-arrival quarantine phase during which they will be tested before they are processed further.
14. The PTF has reviewed reports received on the new testing regime allegedly imposed by some airlines and the associated charges. This is considered inimical to the interest of Nigerians and will be addressed through appropriate channels. The HM Aviation will brief you on the current situation during this session.
15. In our effort to continue to balance lives and livelihood, I wish to state that the PTF is fully conscious of the pains and concerns of businesses in the aviation and related sectors, especially around international airports that are yet to reopen (kano, Port Harcourt & Enugu). We feel your pains and share your fears. The evaluation of the COVID-19 developments is progressing and we are also expediting action on the arrival of vaccines so that we shall further relax the restriction and reopen our vital facilities.
16. Before I invite the HM-Health, DG-NCDC and the National Incident Manager to update you, I wish to remind all Nigerians that enforcement of the new regulation will be taken seriously and urge full compliance. In the final analysis, let us remember that it is for the good of the individual and his/her loved ones. I also urge the media to please go the extra mile to educate Nigerians and the report levels of compliance.
17. I now invite the HM-Health, DG-NCDC and the National Incident Manager to brief you.
18. I thank you for listening.