A Lagos State Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Yaba on Wednesday convicted and sentenced 51 persons to one month community service for violating the social distancing directives of the Lagos State Government.
Chief Magistrate Peter Ojo also ordered that the convicts be quarantined for 14 days at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Yaba, or any other place designated by the government.
The Magistrate convicted the defendants after they plea guilty to a one-count charge of congregating in a group larger that the 20 persons mandated by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The violators include the 34 out of 37 persons arrested by the police while exercising at Gbagada and the 17 out of 18 persons arrested at Ajegunle, both in Lagos.
They were docked before the court on separate charges by the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba.
Police prosecutor, Ayo Adegoke, a Deputy Superintendent (DSP), informed the the court that the Gbagada group committed the offence on Tuesday “along Bush Street/Gbagada Express Road/Ogudu Area”.
Adegoke informed the court that the Ajegunle group committed their offence on April 1, at Ajegunle.
“They gathered at the aforementioned address with over 20 persons contrary to the social distancing directives of Mr Governor of Lagos made pursuant to Regulation 8(1)(a) and (b) and 17(1) of the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 58 of the Public Health Law, 2015,” he claimed.
The 34 Gbagada violators are: Emeka John, Kingsley Jacob, Anthony Fashanu, Chukwuma Okwubaba, Luke Eboro, Kenneth Obasuyi, Julius Joel, Victor Tamund, Egbo Nnamdi, Fortune Sunday, Faith Omoefe.
Others are: Abdulsalam Hammed, Rabiu Aslam, Phil Omoefe, Gbadamosi Oluwakemi, Edopke Eric Emeka, Amaka Chuks, Ismaila Kareem, Nduke Kingsley, Barnabas James, Adeleke Sunday, Ibrahim Olaniran Daniel Oduma, Bashua Oluwaseyi, Folajin Ebunoluwa, Folajin Seyi.
They included: Joshua Oyenusi, Adam Abdulrahman, Ayomide Adenuga, Omoniyi Oladayo, Bamidele Stephen, Chisom Onwusorom, Oloruntoba Aisha, Obi Okoye and Olagoke Anuoluwa.
Aside the community service, the Magistrate Ojo also ordered that the violators be first quarantined for 14 days at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Yaba, or any other medical facility designated by the Lagos State Commissioner for Health.
He ordered that the convicts should be tested twice for COVID-19 and if their result is negative, they may then serve their community service at the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa.
Magistrate Ojo further directed that, “they must ensure that the premises is kept clean. Where their test result is positive, they shall be remanded for treatment until they are found negative before they will proceed to community service,” Mr Ojo added.
Three of the group pleaded not guilty.
They are: Adetutu Aderogbangba, Segun Joshua and Obi Okoye.
The Chief Magistrate quarantined them for 14 days and adjourned till April 21 for their re-arraignment and trial.
The Ajegunle violators are: Adekunle Peter, 28, Rilwan Babajide, 18; Bukola Oyekola, 30; Ubogu Kennedy, 30; Yusuf Lawal, 25; Olamide Wasiu, 17; Saheed Isiaka, 24; Wisdom Edokpayi, 34; Duyilemi Micheal, 34;
Ofen Francis, 30; Mukaila Babatunde, 19; Nwanga Sunday, 28; Chukwuma Ifeadi, 30; Kareem Akeem, 23; Chibuzor Okonkwo, 40; Zakariyu Mohammed, 29; Olasunkanmi Akanbi, 37 and Babatunde Olafusi, 40.
The court ordered that aside the 14-day quarantine and testing for the Coronavirus, they be assigned to clean the Lagos State High Court for one month, between 9am and 3pm, as their community service.
Earlier, the court had dismissed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the charge for lacking in merit.
The lawyer to the ‘Gbagada violators’, Olufunlola Salaam, had also argued that the the charge “was faulty” and the law on which the charge was based did not exist.