State to promulgate law on COVID-19 pandemic
The Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force has said that confirmation tests for two suspected cases of the disease have come out positive. It stated that one of the two new cases was a 28-year-old woman who returned to Nigeria from the United Arab Emirate on March 22, 2020 while the other was a 42-year-old contact of an earlier confirmed case. The task force made these known in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa. The statement read: “The COVID-19 confirmation test for two suspected cases came back positive today. One of the new cases is a 28-year-old woman who returned to the country from the United Arab Emirates on March 22, 2020. The second case is a 42-year-old man who is a contact of an earlier confirmed COVID-19 case. “The isolation process has been initiated, contact tracing and collection of samples have commenced. This brings the number of confirmed cases in Oyo State to eleven. Two cases have been discharged. So, there are nine active cases. “Please, keep following the directives of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force: Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser regularly. Also, continue to maintain social distancing.” In another development, the Oyo State Government said on Tuesday that it was on the verge of promulgating a law that would provide the legal framework to guide operations during the COVID-19 emergency. The government, which made the position public after a meeting of the State Executive Council held via the e-governance platform, declared that the planned law would make orders for social distancing and other regulations on movement and the transport system within the state. The State’s Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, said the bill would also checkmate the role of law enforcement agents as far as respect for human rights is concerned. The statement read: “The Executive Council Meeting discussed the establishment of Oyo State Coronavirus Disease Emergency Prevention Regulations 2020. As we are all aware, starting from 27th of January, the Chinese government identified a new coronavirus and, of course, the United Nations confirmed it to be a pandemic and we all have witnessed its impact in Oyo State. “In order to deal with it, there have been a lot of directives and orders made under extant laws, particularly the public health laws and the Quarantine Act at the federal level. So, it has become necessary for the state to specifically make a regulation to deal with the pandemic and, to that extent, we have gotten approval for the Oyo State Coronavirus Disease Emergency Prevention Regulations of 2020 to be passed into law. “This will enable the state to have the legal framework for making the orders for social distancing and the regulation of movement of transport system within the state. It will also check law enforcement agents in the way they deal with people in a manner that we expect guarantees their constitutional rights.” He added: “Moreover, it deals specifically with persons who have potential for infection for purposes of their quarantine and also for regulating markets, public places, restriction of movements and gathering in premises, and to deal with persons who have been found to have the virus, even in respect of their treatment and in the place of mortality. “Of course, where there is a law, there must be enforcement. So, we have offences, which are created for dealing with it. These COVID-19 regulations will enable a legal framework to be established within the state and since there is a public health law under which it is being passed in the state, it is coming by way of regulation instead of coming by way of legislation. It will come into effect the moment the Governor signs it and passes it for the regulation to have the course of law.” Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde April 7, 2020.