The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Thursday in Abuja arrested and charged no fewer than 20 violators of the COVID-19 protocols within the city.
Twenty offenders, made up of 18 males and two females, were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Raphael Egbe of the FCT Mobile Court, sitting at the Eagle Square.
The offenders were arraigned on a one-count charge of violating extant COVID-19 protocols by not wearing face masks.
The offenders were arrested at different spots across the city, such as the UTC Shopping Complex in Area 10 and the Mug Plaza, Area II Shopping Complex, Garki International Market, among other places.
They were, however, given an option to pay fines, ranging from N1,000 to N5,000, depending on the gravity of their offence as well as their conduct during and after the arrests.
The Chairman of the FCT COVID-19 Protocols Enforcement Taskforce, Mr Ikharo Attah, who led the operations, disclosed that about seven parks had been closed within two days of the commencement of the exercise.
Attah said that one of his men, a police officer, was badly wounded on the nose by some hoodlums, who attempted to obstruct the operation of the taskforce and escape arrests.
He appealed to the public to always comply with the COVID-19 protocols because they were meant to protect their health and that of their families.
“The enforcement has been on for some days now. We conducted a night operation on Wednesday and we had a very tough time.
“One of our police officers was attacked and badly injured on the nose and he is recuperating in the hospital now.
“We have so far prosecuted about 20 persons today. Four from the parks and 16 others for disobeying COVID-19 health protocols of wearing face masks.
“We are begging people in the FCT to please comply. We are not happy doing this but to save ourselves, we have to do it.
“Everyone is home, but we are here doing this. We ought to be at home resting. If everyone puts on a face mask, we won’t have to be on the streets burning fuel, carrying personnel; we are separated from our families to come and do this.
“It is very unpleasant for us, but we have to do it to save people,” he added.
Attah, however, rejected certain claims that the fine was up to N20, 000.
“Some of the offenders can be very violent, and this could anger the judge, who then imposes high fines on them, but the purpose is not to make people pay high fines.
“It is to make them comply, so that we can flatten the curve and go back to normal life,” he added.