The Delta State Government on Wednesday warned that it would no longer tolerate violation of the rules meant to stem the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Charles Aniagwu, the state Commissioner for Information, gave the warning while briefing journalists in Asaba on the decisions reached at the state Executive Council virtual meeting on Tuesday.
He said government had decided to set up a task force and mobile courts to enforce strict compliance with COVID-19 rules to contain the spread of the virus in the state.
Aniagwu, who earlier tested positive for coronavirus, but was discharged on Tuesday, lamented the alarming rate of spread of the virus and the rising number of confirmed cases in Delta State.
The commissioner noted that no fewer than 25 persons had died of COVID-19-related illnesses in the state, while the confirmed cases had overshot 1,200.
He said that hotels, markets, bars, tricycle riders, bus drivers, churches and mosques that violated the protocols as outlined by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Controls would be prosecuted.
Aniagwu added: “We have also reviewed a number of activities that we embarked on with respect to the enforcement of COVID-19 protocols, and it became evident that we are going to take some other concrete measures.
“A task force will be put in place to check places like hotels, bars and supermarkets, among others.
“Anyone that fails to observe the protocols can be sealed indefinitely.
“We are also going to ensure that tricycle, taxis and bus operators adhere to the instructions to carry only the stipulated number of passengers.
“We also insist that individuals who fail to wear their face masks properly in public places, will be apprehended and arraigned before the mobile court.
“Beyond that, religious bodies should run in such a way that they will not jeopardise the interest of all of us.”
Aniagwu said despite the pandemic, the state government was committed to boosting the economy through jobs creation as well as road and drain construction, among other projects and programmes.
He said: “The first family – the governor, his wife and daughter – are doing very well.
“In no distant time the governor and his family will return to direct the affairs of government, even though he is still directing the affairs of government from isolation.
“I am in touch with the governor and he is in a very high spirit as he has given directives that will ensure that all the ongoing projects in the state will continue to run.”
It would be recalled that Okowa, his wife Edith and their daughter as well as the Secretary to the State Government, Chiedu Ebie, had tested positive for COVID-19
The commissioner stressed that the virus was real and that those who compared it with malaria should have a rethink and urged the people to go for test for the virus as testing positive was no death sentence.
Aniagwu said: “We must try to address this prejudices.
“Many prominent Nigerians have died and some people are saying that it is a fluke and money making.
“How much will anybody pay somebody to die?
“It is our desire to flatten the curve of COVID-19 in the state.”
Aniagwu cautioned the people to adhere to all the protocols such as avoiding crowded places, observing regular hand washing and using sensitiser to contain the spread of the pandemic and save lives.