Following public concerns on the establishment of mobile courts to prosecute violators of the COVID-19 directives in Abuja, FCT Solicitor General, Barrister Yusuf Wodi, has clarified that the courts were legally constituted.
The FCT Administration said the courts were backed by Section 7 of the Quarantine Act of 2004, which vests jurisdiction to try violations under the Quarantine Act on Magistrate Courts.
At a press briefing on Friday, the Solicitor General said that in keeping with the Quarantine Act, 13 Magistrate Courts with full complement of staff stationed at strategic locations within and outside the capital city have been constituted and are now operational.
Wodi explained that necessary protocols have been put in place to ensure fairness, justice and above all, the implementation of the primary objective to safeguard public health.
“The primary responsibility of the Administration as guaranteed by the constitution is to ensure public health and order”, he said.
“Government does not derive any pleasure in the curtailment of anybody’s freedom. Government is not interested in causing unnecessary hardship on the residents.”
Wodi added that the FCTA is guided by the rule of law and has taken advantage of existing laws and international best practices in setting up the courts.
The courts, according to him, are not new but existing courts only assigned to deal with the enforcement of the COVID-19 regulations as a global emergency.
On the penalties for those found guilty, the Solicitor General stated that was left at the discretion of the magistrates in line with the provisions of the law.
Also on Friday, FRSC listed penalties defaulters found guilty would face.