Buhari Criminalizes Non-use of Face Masks Among Other Regulations

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Coronavirus Disease Health Protection 2021 which made the use of face masks in public places compulsory among other measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on Wednesday told reporters in Abuja that the president accented to the document on Tuesday.

The PTF boss who doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, noted that the President exercised the powers conferred on him by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010 by signing the document.

As part of the law, the first part which deals with restrictions on gatherings stipulates that at all gatherings, a physical distance of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons.

Also, part two of the regulation stipulates that no person shall be allowed within the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, restaurants, hotels, event centres, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, motor parks, fitness centre or any other similar establishment “except he is wearing a face covering that covers the nose and mouth; he washes his hands or cleaned the hands using hand sanitiser approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control; and his body temperature has been checked. Any person found to have a body temperature above 38 degrees Celsius shall be denied entry and advised to immediately seek medical attention.”

It added, “Notwithstanding the provision of Regulation 1, no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space.

“All persons in public gatherings, whether in enclosed or open spaces, shall adhere to the provisions of Part 2 of these Regulations.”

Part three, among other provisions, stipulates that persons confirmed to have tested positive to COVID-19 by an NCDC accredited laboratory, may not refuse isolation and or admission to a designated health establishment for management of the disease.

Part four which, deals with penalties, stipulates a fine or six months imprisonment or both for violators.

It read, “Any person who contravenes the provisions of these Regulations commits an offence.

“Any person who, without reasonable cause, contravenes a direction given under Parts 1 and 2 of these Regulations commits an offence.

“Any person who, without reasonable cause, obstructs an authorised official from enforcement of these Regulations commits an offence.

“An offence under these Regulations is punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.”

Additionally, part 5 which deals with enforcement and application read “Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant Local Government, State and Federal Government agencies are hereby directed to enforce the provisions of these Regulations.

“Any officer of the enforcement agencies who fails, neglects, or refuses to enforce the provisions of these Regulations shall be subject to disciplinary action by the disciplinary body of his respective agency.”

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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