Covid-19: Imo Govt. goes tough on protocol defaulters

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The Government of Imo State has announced the setting up of four Mobile Courts, two in the State Capital (Owerri) and one each in Orlu and Okigwe zones, to try those who treat with levity, the protocols on Coivd-19 pandemic preventive.

In a statewide broadcast, Friday, Governor Hope Uzodimma spoke on the need for Imo people to adhere strictly to the Covid-19 safety protocols, wondering why they have “refused to adhere to simple Covid-19 protocols of wearing of facemask, to regularly sanitize and wash their hands and to observe social distancing even when it is for their own safety.”

He therefore noted that “the Government Executive Order making it compulsory for all Imo people to wear facemask will henceforth be enforced with unwavering determination.”

His words: “Consequently the Imo State Covid-19 Committee and relevant Agencies in the Ministry of Health have been empowered to arrest and prosecute anyone seen in public without facemask and such offenders when convicted would be liable to a maximum jail term of six months or N20,000 in lieu.

“In the same vein, the Order further provides that any gathering of more than 50 persons anywhere in the State is an offence. The conveners of such gatherings also risk six months in prison or N20,000 in lieu.

“In addition to the above, all hotels, eateries, supermarkets and stores are by the Executive Order compelled to provide hand sanitizers, wash hand stands, test the temperature of their customers and insist on facemask before admitting them into their premises. Failure to adhere to the above directives such stores, hotels, eatery or night clubs will be permanently shut down. In addition the proprietors will be prosecuted. These measures, equally apply to all forms of religious gatherings, marriages or funeral and markets.”

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The Governor reiterated the earlier directives emanating from the Executive Council meeting that warned that henceforth, no one would be allowed to enter any public building in the State without wearing a facemask, adding that “henceforth, heads of MDAs have been directed to ensure that Covid-19 protocols are strictly observed in their offices and businesses with the public.”

The Governor however warned that if the people continue to take the above directives for granted he will be forced to review the situation, and if found negative, he will have no choice but to authorize a second lockdown of the state.

Uzodimma reassured Imo State workers of Government’s determination to continue to make their welfare top priority.

He said efforts are on-going to ensure that details of the correct data of the few workers still having issues with their payroll are collated and built into the automated payroll system.

He announced the issuance of a personal identification form to Imo workers to complete, the target of which is to ensure that every legitimate worker in the State is given the opportunity to provide his or her personal identification detail for the payroll automation. He said he hopes that the process will help resolve the issue of incomplete data information of the few workers still having challenges with the automated payroll.

The Governor used the opportunity to warn Imo workers against being instruments in the hands of unpatriotic Labour leaders who being used by politicians to peddle falsehood, veiled parochial and unbridle bigotry against the State with the aim of actualizing political interest of opposition politicians.

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He said that his government is determined to continue to pay workers salaries regularly, but noted that salaries will be paid only to those who earned it by working. “If any worker decides to join a baseless strike action he/she should not be in any doubt that there will be no salary at the end of the month. Our policy is simple ‘no work no pay’ which is in accordance to International Labour Law provisions, section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act,” Uzodimma explained.

He further enjoined Imo people “to resolve in their own interest to do the right thing for our state for our safety and for the safety of our loved ones because Covid-19 that is currently ravaging the whole world and Imo State not exempted is not only real but deadly.”

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