Ekiti To Prosecute Persons Who Intentionally Expose Others To Coronavirus For Murder

The Ekiti State government has announced additional measures for the enforcement of Executive Order on the prevention of coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in the state.

These new measures which were today, Tuesday, March 24, approved by the state security council are contained in an advisory to law enforcement agencies in the state issued by the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Olawale Fapohunda.

According to Fapohunda, the purpose of the advisory is to clarify the legal framework for the effective prosecution of persons who violate Executive Order No 4 on the prevention of the spread of coronavirus in the state.

The governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi had on the 20th March 2020 signed an Executive Order on the temporary prohibition of large assemblages and events, temporary school closures and the prohibition of excess passengers in commercial vehicles.

Under the new measures to give effect to the Executive Order, persons who deliberately infect others with coronavirus will be prosecuted for the offences of murder, attempted murder or assault as applicable.

Also in a bid to prevent fake news on coronavirus, any person who publishes false news about the virus on any medium including social media, will in addition to being prosecuted under the Criminal Code Law of Ekiti State be prosecuted under the Cybercrime Act.

Similarly, the advisory states that a law officer may with the guidance of a medical practitioner use reasonable force to arrest “a person who has been clinically or by a laboratory confirmed as having COVID -19” and refuses treatment and quarantine. Such a person is to be detained at the authorised state isolation centre.

On the issue of Human Rights, the Attorney- General stated that the enforcement powers do not give room for any law enforcement officer to harass or violate the fundamental rights of any resident of the State.

“The government of Ekiti State is committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of all those living in Ekiti State regardless of their gender, ethnic origin, economic status, religion or any other attribute.

“None of the measures adopted by the government to mitigate the spread of coronavirus should be interpreted to give any law enforcement officer the power to violate the rights of any citizen except under circumstances prescribed by law.

“All Law Enforcement Officers shall in the course of enforcing state-sanctioned measures for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 ensure respect for and observance of constitutional provisions on Human Rights as provided for in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“Where a Law Enforcement Officer willfully and unlawfully violates the rights of a citizen, such conduct amounts to gross misconduct and such officer may be liable to criminal prosecution without prejudice to the right of the victim to seek civil remedies such as compensation,” he said.

On March 18, the state’s Ministry of Health and Human Services identified the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in the state. While the state’s coronavirus task force had identified 42 direct and indirect contacts of the identified index case.


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