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Police to arrest persons without face masks, others

The Commissioner, Lagos State Police Command, Hakeem Odumosu, has warned that the Command would begin clampdown on persons found on the streets without face masks.

Odumosu stated this on Monday when he spoke with newsmen after a prolonged meeting with Area Commanders and Principal Officers of the command at the Headquarters in Ikeja.

He hinted that the curfew imposed on the state by President Muhammadu Buhari from 8pm to 6am beginning from May 4, would be enforced everywhere in Lagos to the latter.

According to him: “This time, police will not arrest you for vehicle particulars, but for refusing to put on the face mask, not keeping social distance.

“Okada activities have also been suspended.

“Since we started the lockdown, we have not had any case of police brutality in Lagos because we are using persuasive enforcement, and we will continue on that.

“We just had a security meeting.

“We just analysed the Presidential directive and the state government’s regulations in line with the directive, and we are the lead agency in enforcing this directive.

“The challenge for us now is to put our heads together to have a common way of enforcing the directive.

“It should not be difficult to enforce the new transport regulation in the state because the state government has gone further to bring in all the transport units in the state.

“They are to do self enforcement for their members, and the state government is also doing advocacy.

“Self compliance still remains the best.

“So the LASTMA officials, Neighbourhood Corps, the park and monitoring officials of the Lagos State Government, that is the agency that has the power to know what happens in the park, NURTW and RTEAN, where all transporters belong, they have accepted they are going to enforce this.

“Once they comply, those who refuse, they will know the best punishment for them.

“With that, we are expecting voluntary compliance.

“Those arrested so far are those who did not put on the face mask.

“Either the passenger, driver or conductor, anyone not putting face mask will be arrested.

“Anyone carrying more than the stipulated number of passengers without social distancing will be stopped.

“The operatives on enforcement will just ask the excess passengers to get down and the bus will continue its journey with the expected number if passengers.

“Before any arrest can be made, it will be after 8pm.

“We have gone round the city as early as 5am.

“All the barricades have been removed and no police is stopping anyone anywhere.

“Before we will start stopping, it will be 8pm.

“By and large, the enforcement is a persuasive one.

“We persuade people.

“To be realistic, all what we are avoiding is for people not to have Coronavirus.

“We need to talk more to people’s conscience.

“Let them know that this thing goes beyond doubting it does not exist.

“We saw some banks where people queued to use the ATM and gain access to the bank.

“You know human beings, for some of them, their food and money had been exhausted during the total lockdown.

“We expected that.

“It is human nature.

“So we will be going round to persuade them.

“We have also told bank officers to bring their security operatives out because the people gathered are their customers.

“They are making money from them.

“Let them come out and space them.

“We spoke with bank managers on the need to space and I am sure by the first one week, people will adjust to it.

“Fortunately, Lagos State Government said after two weeks, they will review it.

“And that gives a ray of hope.

“So if we voluntarily comply, there may not be any enforcement.”

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