Ado-Ekiti — The Ekiti State government will soon commence “aggressive enforcement” of compliance with the compulsory use of the face mask and social distancing, with a stiffer penalty awaiting defaulters as it battles to curb COVID-19 spread in the state.

Governor Kayode Fayemi said, yesterday, that those found breaching the COVID-19 protocols from today, Monday, would be prosecuted with appropriate legal sanctions like fines and observation of community services.

Fayemi expressed worry over the widespread lack of compliance with COVID-19 regulations in the state, especially as it related to proper wearing of the face mask.

The governor, who spoke in Ado Ekiti through the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, said a special offences court where violators would be prosecuted had been set up in the state.

“We are concerned that a large and an unacceptable number of our people continue to believe that COVID-19 pandemic is not real. The state government is keen to correct that wrong impression. From Monday, the state government will begin the enforcement of these regulations.

“A number of areas that we will be looking at will include the wearing of face masks, as well as compliance with various social distancing regulations, particularly as it relates to places of business, including banks, supermarkets and markets,” the governor said.

He reminded transport operators on the need to reject passengers without nose masks to avoid sanctions.

“Both the cyclist and the offender are liable. If somebody is not wearing a mask, no okada rider should carry such a person. We have also told the road transportation union members that before they carry passengers, they must be sure that such passengers are wearing masks. They have the right to reject passengers that are not wearing masks. This is not about them, it is about all of us.

“However, while we will vigorously prosecute COVID-19 violators, we will do so within the provisions of the Constitution and the laws of Ekiti State,” he said.

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