Lagos Police Arrest 175 Persons for Violating Physical Distancing Order

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

No fewer than 175 suspects have been arrested by Lagos State Police Command for allegedly violating the physical distancing and curfew directives of the state government.

The suspects, who were arrested between Friday and Sunday, were alleged to have organised parties, religious gatherings, traded at open markets or breached the dusk-to-dawn curfew put in place to contain further spread of COVID-19.

Parading some of the suspects at the command headquarters yesterday, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, said 95 were traders apprehended at Ilepo Market around 10.00 a.m on Sunday for operating in violation of the lockdown relaxation guidelines.

He said a team of policemen at Oke-Odo were sent to the market to stop traders from opening their shops on Sunday in line with the guidelines, which allowed food markets to open only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, but the team was resisted by the traders.
He said: “We sent reinforcement to the area; 70 males and 25 females were arrested.”

Similarly, he said an Islamic cleric, Mr. Rasheed Jimoh, and a prophet, Mr. Moses Peter, alongside 28 worshippers were arrested for holding prayers.

Jimoh and 13 others were arrested by operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in a mosque at Olushi, Lagos Island while holding congregational prayers in violation of the order issued by the government.

Peter and 16 of his members, on the other hand, were arrested at 4.00 p.m on the same day by policemen on enforcement duty from Tolu Division in Christ Desire Sabbath Mission, Olodi, Apapa, holding congregational service.

Giving further breakdown of the arrest, the commissioner said 26 persons, including a hotel manager and birthday celebrant, were held for organising a party at White Courtville Hotel in Egbeda, on Saturday night by policemen at Shasha Division.

He said the division received a tip-off around 11.30 p.m that a group of young men and women were hosting a birthday party at the hotel.

“A team of police was deployed in the area. The organiser of the party, Blessing Omo, 25, and 25 others were arrested. The manager of the hotel, one Ikechukwu Emmanuel, was equally arrested. The hotel will be sealed by the relevant government agency,” he added.

He said 24 others were arrested at Kwakwa Uku area of Agege for violating curfew around 10.00 p.m on May 8 by operatives from Area G command, adding that they pelted stones on the enforcement team.

“The suspects including one Balikis Obadina, 30, were selling food, consuming alcohol and illicit drugs.
“On sighting the police, they became violent, hauling stones and bottles on the enforcement teams. All those arrested will be charged to court,” Odumosu said.