COVID-19: Osun threatens jail term for fake news
Published April 3, 2020
The Governor of Osun State, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, on Thursday signed the Osun Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020, as part of efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation gives legal backing to the sit-at-home order of the government, to check the spread of the virus.
It prescribes six months’ imprisonment or a fine for anyone who violates the sit-at-home order, according to a statement on Thursday.
Also, anyone who peddles fake news as regards COVID-19 risks being jailed for six months or fined.
Oyetola said he signed the legislation in exercise of the powers conferred on him by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the relevant provisions of the State of Osun Public Health Law.
“Under the law, transmission or dissemination of false information regarding COVID-19 is also an offence and attracts the same punishment, just as the promotion of unverified, untested, or unapproved cures, vaccines or other similar items that purport to cure, alleviate or reduce instances of persons infected with COVID-19, also constitute an offence and offenders, upon conviction, will be liable to six-month imprisonment or an option of fine,” the statement said.
A portion of the new legislation, according to the statement, read, “The governor may direct the removal of a potentially infectious person, where such a person fails or refuses to go to a place specified for screening and assessment. The governor may direct a potentially infectious person within a local area, to go into isolation for an initial period of 14 days.”
It quoted Oyetola as saying, “It has become imperative to go beyond making suggestions and giving directives in order to stem the tide of the spread of COVID-19, save lives, reduce ill health and ensure that the economy in which the people of the State of Osun operate does not become weakened and stretched, I make the following regulations for the good order, safety, security and public health in the State of Osun.”