IGP Mohammed Adamu Abubakar last night rescinded his order on essential workers, including journalists and doctors. He exempted them from the 8pm to 6am nationwide curfew.
The police boss had said that no essential workers will be granted passage during the curfew, an order that negated President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that journalists, doctors and others on essential duty should be allowed a free pass.
But Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Frank Mba, a Deputy Commisioner of Police (DCP) said essential service providers, including media and health workers are free to more after 8pm.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed had earlier clarified that journalists’ identity cards are their pass during lockdowns or curfews.
Yesterday, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Chairman and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha said essential workers and those on the frontline were exempted from the curfew.
He urged security agencies to enforce the interstate travel ban and curfew but emphasised that essential workers were not to be disturbed.
Mustapha said: “I, however, wish to assure our essential workers, such as the frontline medical personnel and the media, that they will be adequately protected. They should always carry a valid means of identification.”
The police came under fire for their complicity in the free movement of non-essential travellers despite the ban and curfew.
But, the IGP said yesterday it would no longer be business as usual.
Abubakar directed the Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and state commissioners of Police to effectively enforce the ban and curfew.
He held a virtual conference with the officers – the first by the Police since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic – to review the security situation.
Mba said in a statement: “The IGP, while evaluating security reports from various state commands, charged the Commissioners of Police, particularly in states with recent incidents of attacks on communities, to rejig their security architecture to forestall further attacks and keep the communities safe and secure for the citizenry.
“The IGP also expressed concern over reports bordering on human rights infractions between the public and personnel of the force.
“He, therefore, called for mutual respect between the public and members of the force and charged the strategic managers to place more premium on the supervision of police personnel under their watch.”
Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said the Lagos State Police Command would commence strict enforcement of the 8 pm to 6am curfew.
“To this end, residents of the state are enjoined to factor the travel time to their destinations into their daily operations.
“No excuse will be entertained from anyone caught after 8 pm and defaulters will be made to face the full weight of the law. Please ensure compliance and stay safe,” he said in a statement.