From Tony John, Port Harcourt
rivers House of Assembly has passed into law a bill to enforce the use of face mask in public places in the state.
The bill, sponsored by Chairman, House Committee on Health and member representing Emohua Constituency, Sam Ogeh, was passed yesterday.
Speaker Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani regretted that citizens were not cooperating with the state government in the effort to protect them from the deadly pandemic.
“As we know the first fundamental duty of government is to protect life and property; if government has directed in the interest of all that we should wear face masks, wash our hands, these are the basic minimum that anyone can do to ensure basic hygiene, and we must do these to help the government.
“COVID-19 pandemic is killing; people are dying in their numbers, we, as citizens, should also play our own role to live for the future.”
He said the law had become necessary to allow security agencies enforce the use of face masks in public.
“The Nigeria Police and other security agencies should also help in enforcing the wearing of face masks, especially in public places. If you are home, you are very unlikely to be duty bound to wear face mask. But when you go to public places where you have others, the onus is on you to protect yourself and protect others. So, the Ministry of Health has to liaise with security agencies to ensure every resident of the state complies with the law.”
Sponsor of the bill, Ogeh, lauded the political will of the state government to check the spread of the virus in and the contributions, efforts of corporate bodies and individuals in fighting the pandemic.