By Doris Obinna
The Lagos State Government has said that new Coronavirus Act of 2021 empowers Mr. Governor to sanction erring individuals with fines of up to N500,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said the act empowers the state to quarantine anyone deemed fit and for any period of time.
In a statement, yesterday, the commissioner said the state is going to follow to the letter laid sanctions by Lagos State House of Assembly, which is also implemented by the Attorney General of the state.
Abayomi said: “Whilst the state has gone through great lengths to provide a seamless experience for passengers, it is important that the passengers adhere strictly to the laid-out protocols to avoid sanctions which may include penalties and/or prison time as laid out.
“According to the act, providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out the online platform is an offence punishable by one year imprisonment and/or fines according to section 17 of the coronavirus pandemic law 2021.
“According to section 17 of same, if passengers break the quarantine rules, they may be required to pay the stipulated fine and/or one year imprisonment. All passengers are advised to avoid the long arm of the law and act in good conscience by adhering to the guidelines to protect the lives and livelihood of all Lagos residents.
“Since the commencement of the new guidelines and the ban on non-Nigerians travelling from three countries (India, Brazil and Turkey) into Nigeria, Lagos State has recorded 568 in-bound passengers, who have been permitted to enter Nigeria from these three countries. We have isolated 433 passengers in our various accredited hotels and facilities; 262 are in Isolation and 154 passengers have been discharged with a negative COVID-19 test.
“Nine have tested positive to COVID-19 and successfully isolated to prevent community transmission. Of the remaining 135 passengers, 119 have refused isolation and 16 are unaccounted for.”
He added: “On May 24, 2021, the Presidential Steering Committee led by Mr. Boss Mustapha and working together with the COVID-19 response in Lagos State, led by the Incident Commander, the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, published a first list of defaulters of the laid down protocols travelling through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport as it relates to the red listed countries (India, Brazil and Turkey).
“All passengers affected should contact the lead of our Case Management Unit, Dr. Abimbola Bowale, on [email protected] who will verify their status. The list of names who may have been mistakenly placed on this list and have been cleared will be sent to the Presidential Steering Committee for removal from the published names.
“However, all passengers that have been confirmed absconders will have their passports deactivated for a minimum of 1 year, if Nigerian and if foreign, will have their resident permits cancelled and deported as stated by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19.
“All absconders will also face the penalties of the coronavirus pandemic Law 2021 of Lagos State, including varying lengths of prison time up to one year and fines of up to N500,000. All affected passengers are to present themselves to the Yaba Mainland Hospital for assessment and COVID-19 tests to evaluate their status.”
The commissioner who warned against third wave of the COVID-19 wave, said regardless of the reduction in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the state is yet to reach its target. “Given the requirement for achieving herd immunity (60 per cent of total population vaccinated), the state still needs to vaccinate about 14,000,000 (14 Million).
“However, the state would ensure ramp up testing by carrying out COVID-19 tests on all travelers.