Lagos State Government, in its efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus in the state, has arrested 566 persons, convicted 502 and shut down 32 clubs and event centres since the inception of COVID-19 second wave.
This was revealed in a statement made by Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, replying the letter of one Mr Kunle Uthman, lawyer and member of the Body of Benchers, who accused Lagos State Government of inadvertently aiding the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that businesses and activities in the state are running as usual.
Uthman alleged that the state was not doing enough to enforce safety protocols. Besides, government officials were caught organising and attending big events.
He said, “As it is, day-by-day, these large parties are being organised and attended by even highly placed LASG officials,” making reference to a “funeral outing party, held with grandiose fanfare without social distancing and failure to enforce the wearing of face masks at a prestigious club hall in Surulere with capacity in excess of 2,500 persons.”
In response to the Uthman’s letter, the state government through Onigbanjo described some of his conclusions as “misconceptions and inaccuracies which need clarification.”
He said the lawyer’s claims that there is no any commitment by the state government “is to blatantly overlook the numerous initiatives and steps taken by the state government to protect lives and property.
“The State Government never shied away from admitting that Lagos is indeed the epicenter of the virus in Nigeria. But is it “business-as-usual?” Most certainly not.”
He noted that March 27, 2020, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu signed into Law the first COVID-19 Regulations to be issued by any government nationwide, adding that thousands have been successfully treated and discharged from the state’s isolation centres and home-based care till date.
Onigbanjo added that “When the second wave started, Mr. Governor (even whilst just recovering from being infected with the virus) addressed a press conference on 18 December 2020 and shut down, nightclubs, lounges, concerts and bars. The number of people who could attend social functions/restaurants was reduced and event centres were mandated to get clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission before going ahead with any event.
“A plan to construct three oxygen plants was launched and on the 8th of January 2021, the first installed oxygen plant was commissioned at Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba. This is capable of producing 60 large cylinders a day of high-grade medical oxygen.”
“COVID-19 tests are still conducted for free at State government test and sample centres. About 20 private labs are to carry out tests in order to provide alternatives to members of the public who want their tests done for a variety of reasons. It is only these private labs who charge a fee for tests.
“The State government is also currently discussing with vaccine manufacturers with a view to making vaccines available to Lagosians.
“As it relates to Event Centres, the extant Regulations remain that all Event Planners must obtain prior clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission (lasgsafetyreg.com) for all events and ensure that any planned gatherings do not exceed the prescribed number, while nightclubs, bars and lounges remain closed,” he said.