Governor Obiano signs COVID-19 bill into law 

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Governor Willie Obiano has signed into law the Anambra State COVID-19 and other Dangerous Diseases Prevention and Eradication bill.

The bill was signed in law on May 29, at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia.

The bill, recently passed by the State House of Assembly, became necessary in order to legitimise measures taken by the Anambra State government to combat the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Accenting to the bill, Gov. Obiano emphasised the need for Anambra people and everyone residing in the state to comply with the hygiene protocols established by relevant health organisations and the state government.

The governor said the protocols and other healthcare advisories were now backed by law and would attract penalties if contravened.

Uche Okafor, speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, affirmed that COVID-19 law was germane to the effectiveness of the battle against the contagion and other pandemics that might arise in future.

He noted that the law was necessary to strengthen, validate and legalise the state government’s policies on COVID-19 pandemic and other related health matters.

According to him, Coronavirus has taken the world unawares including us in Anambra State.

“To combat it effectively, measures that were outlandish to our culture and laws were introduced and therefore the need for a law to incorporate such measures into the system and accommodate them.’’

Okafor observes: “certain rights of an individual like the right to movement and association as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended are restricted.

“Some aspects of our culture like contact salutation; traditional, social and religious festivities have been stopped.

“Even though the advisories are already in the public domain, with commensurate compliance by Ndi Anambra, there is need to legitimise them for effective enforcement.’’

The Anambra State COVID-19 law has 15 sections. It provides for the protection of medical professionals, healthcare providers and other frontline workers in an epidemic or pandemic.

It also contains stipulations for conduct of citizens and residents during a health crisis. Such stipulations include: lockdown of the state and shutdown of business, religious, social and traditional activities.

Others are closure of educational institutions, the civil service and other institutions in the state, wearing of face masks in public places, social distancing, restrictions on public gatherings and regulations on burials.

Penalties for contravening the law include fines, community service or jail terms after a contravening party must have been tried, found guilty and sentenced by a competent court.

– June 1, 2020 @ 2:25 GMT |

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