Diri: ‘don’t harass residents not wearing face masks’

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has warned security operatives not to harass or extort money from the public under the guise of enforcing compulsory use of face mask.

The governor gave the warning on Wednesday when he donated masks to representatives of bankers, traders, transport operators, maritime workers and others at the Government House in Yenagoa.

Diri, represented by Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said no security agent or task force official was permitted to fine anyone without a face mask.

He stressed the need for due process in the enforcement of laws to avoid trampling on people’s rights.

The governor, who urged the police to intensify efforts at fighting crime, noted that a joint task force might be set up to enforce the order if there was no change in people’s behaviour.

Diri said: “What we have done today is to keep the promise we made to the unions last week. We promised that while we want to enforce the use of face masks in our public places, we want to assist the unions by donating some.

“We have not authorised any task force, especially policemen, to enforce the wearing of face masks. Bayelsans or Nigerians should not be harassed or extorted in the name of enforcing the use of face masks. The law is to warn. You warn before you arm.

“What we are doing now is to warn. We shall arm when the time comes.”

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