Lagos will not hesitate to review easing of lockdown if… ― Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday warned that the state government will not hesitate to review the terms of easing of lockdown currently in operation if it continues to see evidence that Lagosians are determined to flout the rules.

He declared that the citizens should let the numbers of people who tested positive last week in the state stand as a warning.

The state currently has a total of over 1,000 coronavirus patients from close to 4,000 cases in the country.

Tribune Online reports that Sanwo-Olu gave this warning while giving the 11th update on coronavirus as the incident commander, recalled that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) had also made the same point that “the continued maintenance of this easing was only guaranteed when people consistently comply.”

Sanwo-Olu said: “As a government, elected to uphold the security of Lagos State – and this includes health security – let me make it clear that we will not hesitate to review the terms of this easing if we continue to see evidence that Lagosians are determined to flout the rules.

“I am aware that the Presidential Task Force has also made this point; that the continued maintenance of this easing is only guaranteed when people consistently comply.

”Let the numbers we have seen this week stand as a warning to all of you the good people of Lagos State. What we are seeing is child’s play compared to what we could be seeing if we continue to be irresponsible,” he warned.

The governor, while issuing the warning, lamented that the level of compliance to the rules attached to easing the lockdown had been very low by people of the state.

While citing instances, he declared that the list “is regrettably much longer.”

According to Sanwo-Olu, on the first day of this new phase of an eased lockdown, the compliance level for commercial transport sector operations was regrettably very low, saying that Yellow Buses especially, failed to comply with the capacity restrictions outlined in the framework.

He declared that the level of compliance was still not encouraging even though things had improved in subsequent days.

The governor said many commercial motorcycle operators popularly called okadas openly and indiscriminately defied the suspension order, while the ban on interstate travel was also consistently flouted.

“In many cases, people decided to make the final leg of the journey into the state on foot, to beat the
restrictions,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“Trucks and other vehicles carrying items designated as essential, have also played major roles in flouting the guidelines, by conspiring to conceal and smuggle people in and out of the state.

“The reports about mask usage in public places have also not been encouraging. Many people are still choosing to go out without masks or face coverings of any kind. This is simply unacceptable,” he said.

The governor, while reiterating that the success of this gradual easing of the lockdown was dependent upon the compliance of each and every Lagosian, however, commended what he termed substantial compliance by the state BRT and LBSL buses, and water transport operations “with the carriage policy of no more than 60 per cent of maximum capacity.”

He added that markets and mechanic villages also demonstrated significant compliance.

“In terms of open markets and stores, our directive was that food and farm produce markets will open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while markets dealing in other items will open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We have seen high levels of compliance in this regard, as well as in the maintenance of physical distancing and the use of face masks in the markets.

“I must specially thank the leadership of our market associations, led by the Iyaloja and President-General, for the effort they have put into compliance,” the governor said.

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“There are still some areas in which improvements need to be made, but I expect that this will be achieved in the coming days. Our monitoring teams at state and local government levels are working hard to raise compliance levels to 100 per cent,” he declared.

Speaking further, Governor Sanwo-Olu recalled the projection made on Friday by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, that the state data modelling estimates could by July reach 120,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, adding that such a projection ”does not necessarily have to be our reality.”

The governor, however, argued that the only way to ensure that “projections do not become reality, was taking the projections as a warning, and using them to influence and modify our behaviour towards greater compliance and discipline.

“As citizens, we have a great burden upon us, to behave responsibly. These times demand a lot from us, in terms of actions and behaviours that may not be comfortable,” he warned.

The governor equally expressed his appreciation to the state medical team and waste disposal teams, “who do not always get the recognition they deserve for the work they are doing on the frontlines, pointing out that a good number of them had been infected in the line of duty.

“I would like to use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank you profusely for your service and assure you that we will continue to do everything to safeguard you, by ensuring that the protective equipment you need to do your work are always available to you.

“Let me finally use this opportunity to remind us all of the Whistleblower Hotlines that we have established, for people to report violations of the orders and restrictions we have issued. The numbers are: 0901-051-3197; 0901-051-3198; 0901-051-3199.

“We are guaranteeing strict confidentiality of all reports, and the full protection of the identity of all whistleblowers.

“Let us all play our part in protecting Lagos from this pandemic,” the governor added.

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