The police in Lagos have said it arrested and convicted at least 179 offenders in Lagos, who violated social distancing guidelines and the curfew put in place to help curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

Speaking with SaharaReporters, Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, Bala Elkana, said punishments of community service and payment of fines of N2,500 to N3,000 was imposed depending on the gravity of the crime.

He said, "We have restrategised. First, we dismantled roadblocks in town to enable motorists have easy access because during the total lockdown we blocked all roads. 

"The boundary communities, we are working to tighten them. We have learnt our lessons from the lockdown period, we have identified communities where people are coming in from in a bid to beat the restriction on inter-state movement.

"The first day of the enforcement, we got 121 arrested, 58 suspects were arrested for not using face masks in public, 79 vehicles were impounded for violating the curfew. 

“Those arrested were taken to the mobile court on Tuesday to fasten the process and they were convicted.

“Some were given community service such as sweeping the streets and some awarded fine of N2,500 and others fines of N3,000 depending on the severity of the offence."

One resident, who supervises a grocery store in Ikeja but commutes from Oworonshoki every day, said he was worried he might become an offender due to traffic.

He said, "I have to stay back and take stock of everything even after everybody have closed as the supervisor. By the time I'm done and heading home, I usually meet heavy traffic.

“Yesterday, I escaped narrowly but for how long? What if the traffic didn't move? I don't have any other job, so I cannot stay at home. If they can consider and help us rather than arresting us, I will be happy."

Edna Jesse, who lives in Magboro area of Ogun State but works on Lagos Island, worries that she too may one day be arrested and convicted due to situation beyond her control.

She said, "When I close, normally even without this disease, getting transportation is always difficult because I don't enter my own bus. Now it's even more difficult because they have time to operate.

"They should just lift it (lockdown) totally since we are wearing masks. That's the best way we can manage ourselves."

Elkana however, said the police was determined to prosecute offenders, who have no excuse to be outside.

He said, "This is more strict than the total lockdown because people have the whole day to sort themselves out and attend to their issues, then they have no excuse again to tell us that they are out in the night."

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