Friday, April 10, 2020

202 Lagos lockdown violators arraigned and 189 convicted

A mobile court sitting at the Lagos State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, on Thursday, convicted 189 out of the 202 persons arraigned for violating the lockdown order of the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

Sixty juvenile violators, including some with hearing and speech impairment, were also ordered to do community service.

PUNCH Metro gathered during a visit to the SCIID that the violators were arrested while playing football, jogging and partaking in different forms of physical exercise in different parts of the state.

Policemen from the Alapere, Anthony, Ogudu, Ikotun, Isolo, Maroko, Itire, Ikeja, Iju, Orile, Owode-Onirin and Ilemba-Hausa police divisions arrested the violators and transferred them to the SCIID.

The Officer-in-Charge of the SCIID, DCP Yetunde Longe, said the violators were immediately taken to the mobile court for arraignment after their statements had been taken.

During the court proceedings, the defendants stood in queues and took turns before magistrates Lateef Layeni and Bimbo Oshodi-Makanju.

While some pleaded guilty for violating the lockdown order, others protested their arrests, claiming that they observed social distancing while exercising.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, told journalists that the 202 persons were arrested while playing football and exercising on major streets, adding that they were arraigned on one count of violating the social distancing directive of the Lagos State Government.

The Coordinator of the Mobile Court, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Arinola Ogbara-Banjoko, said the 60 juvenile violators, including those with hearing and speech impairment, were asked to do community service because of their ages and condition.

She added that those among the convicts, who could not afford to pay the fine, were asked to do community service for a day and sent home with a warning that they should stay at home for their safety.

One of the violators, Oluchukwu Okafor, said she was the only one jogging at the time of her arrest, adding that she had to exercise based on her doctor’s advice.

One Emmanuel Williams said it was wrong to sentence the violators to community service and still fine them. Punch
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