Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo has threatened a second total lockdown if residents of the state continue to disregard COVID-19 safety protocols.
The governor issued the threat in a statewide broadcast in Owerri late on Friday night.
Uzodinma, who frowned at the nonchalance of Imo residents towards established safety protocols, said that four mobile courts have been put in place in different parts of the state to prosecute violators of COVID-19 safety protocols.
He directed the use of face masks, hand sanitisers and hand washstands in all malls, markets, hotels, eateries, night clubs, supermarkets and public offices, as well as, for all religious gatherings, marriage and burial ceremonies.
He pecked the maximum number of persons for public gatherings at 50 and warned that offenders would have to endure six months in jail or pay N20,000 in lieu.
“However, I must make it absolutely clear that if our people choose instead to continue to deceive themselves that Coronavirus does not exist and continue to go about without face masks and without observing other safety protocols, I will be forced to review the situation in the coming weeks.
“If it is clear from the realities on ground that extra, more stringent measures must be taken to keep our people safe.
“I will have no choice but to authorise a second lockdown of the state. The choice is entirely ours to make: To strictly adhere to the simple safety protocols now or to face a complete lockdown in a few weeks.
“Let us all resolve today to do the right thing for our state, for our safety and for the safety of our loved ones,” he urged.