Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has disclosed plans to introduce sanctions against people who refuse to comply with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety protocols from the Presidential Task Force (PTF).
Uzodimma spoke to newsmen yesterday after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
He said his government had already put in place a Task Force on COVID-19 as part of measures to reduce the spread of the disease and ensure the safety of all citizens.
“Few days ago, I issued an Executive Order to make not wearing mask a crime in Imo State. So, any moment from now, we will begin to arrest people refusing to wear mask. I have given 14 days for all those coming into Imo to wear face masks and comply with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocol or be arrested and tried.
“I have created six mobile courts to handle that. We don’t joke. It is better we offend people than to allow this disease to continue to spread in Imo,” he said.
According to him, the Imo Task Force on COVID-19 is chaired by Nigerian professor of Pharmacognosy, Maurice Iwu.
“We have in place four isolation centres, fully equipped and the government partnering with the private sector has also equipped an additional isolation centre at the University Teaching Hospital, Orlu.
“But the number is growing daily, and those testing positive are also on the increase. So, I think we need to prepare more grounds; build more isolation centres, get more medications, get oxygen and also try to have respiratory support equipment for those who have difficulty in breathing after getting infected.”
The governor lamented that some Nigerians were reluctant in complying with non-pharmaceutical protocols, hence the need to introduce sanctions.
“The only effective cure we have seen now is when you are able to test and it is detected early, you take steps to change your hygiene system and comply with the protocols.
“It’s not easy, honestly, because knowing the attitude of our people – they are so stubborn, you continue to plead with them to see reason with you because you can only be stubborn if you are alive. We’ve seen how people are dying every day, everywhere, even in Imo because of this ugly monster called COVID-19.”