The absence of courts in most places in the Oti Region is affecting justice delivery, especially the enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols in the region.
According to police this development, coupled with the limited space at the various police stations, was a huge challenge to the newly created region.
One of the ways some regions in the country were dealing with persons whole flout COVID-19 protocols was their arrest and prosecution.
This practice is however, not being implemented in the Oti Region as the area lacks courts to expedite justice on recalcitrant persons.
The regional capital, for instance, has a magistrate court which sits only on Fridays, hence if people are arrested they are left off the hook.
Explaining the challenges to the media on the sidelines of a disinfection exercise of 54 police installations in the region, the Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Sebastian Atsu Wemegah, said this was hindering the enforcement of COVID protocols.
He said, “here in Dambai we have a magistrate court which sits only on Fridays and per the law, we cannot keep people for more than 48 hours so it is really a problem for us.”
“Most places do not have courts. If you arrest someone for a crime like not adhering to COVID-19 protocols, you may have to send the person to Jasikan which a long way from here. In this case, we just allow people to go with caution,” he disclosed.
He disclosed further that as part of their own initiatives, people who are arrested for not wearing nose masks are made to buy some and cautioned.
“Because of the problem of not having courts and space for the people in our cells, when we see you without nose masks, we get you to a vendor and force you to buy one,” he stressed.
Touching on the disinfection exercise, DCOP Wemegah appealed for frequent disinfection of their facilities to protect the personnel.
“This disinfection exercise is good since it is reassuring our personnel here that their lives matter. It will help us to discharge our duties very well as we know we are protected,” DCOP Wemegah added.
Also speaking to the media, Zoomlion Zonal Manager, Emmanuel Amemakalor, urged the public to take seriously the protocols set aside to combat the spread of the virus.