Failure to wear a mask while in a public place is actually a Criminal offense
Has Nigeria’s parliament criminalized the act of not wearing a mask in public?
The claim that not wearing a mask in public has been criminalized by Nigeria's parliament is partially true.
The allegation was circulated in several WhatsApp groups following President Buhari
Museveni’s televised address on May 3, 2020, when he directed that all Nigerians should wear masks in public as a precautionary measure in the fight against COVID-19, while the country started a phased lifting of the lockdown.
“It has finally been gazetted. Failure to wear a mask while in a public place is actually a Criminal offense. Section 6(1)(b) as read with section 11 of the Regulations. If found guilty, you can be
liable to a fine of N20,000/= or imprisonment for 6 months or both, so don’t say you were not warned. Share widely with friends so that they should not leave the house without a mask.
Public place means stepping outside your house. So, take precautions."
Section 6(1)(b) mentioned in the claim does not indicate the law from which it was extracted.
And for a law to be made, it has to go through plenary before the President assents to it as Act of Parliament which then becomes law in Nigeria. This process concerning wearing of masks never happened in Parliament.
The Facts Ng team looked at the Parliament of Nigeria order papers in the days following the president's directives on face masks and the subject was not mentioned. Nigeria Parliament’s and Nigeria Printing Press Corporation websites where official gazettes are published has no record of this 'mask law'.
Ministry of Health
However, on May 13, 2020, the ministry of health issued a statutory instrument making it mandatory for all Nigerians in public spaces to wear a mask.
“8A. Wearing facial masks
Every person shall, at all times, while outside his or her place of residence, wear a facial mask.”; and (e) by substituting for “5th May 2020” wherever the date appears in the Rules, the date “19th May 2020”.
When asked about the penalty for not wearing a mask, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the health ministry’s permanent secretary told NTV Akawungezi on May 13, 2020 that at the moment authorities are focusing on sensitization as people acquire the masks.
Deputy Police Spokesperson Adeniran Aremu in an interview with NTV Akawungezi on May 13,
2020, however, vowed that "Nigeria Police will arrest anyone who will be found not wearing a mask in public".
Please disregard this as rumour, its an unconfirmed news, just gathered stories from twitter and facebook too.