24 hours after violation, Presidency warns that no facemask expect lockdown.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday January 30th, to the consternation of many, violated an executive order he signed regulating COVID-19 five days ago.
The law prescribes a six-month jail term for defaulters or a fine of One hundred and fifty Thousand Naira or both without further option.
In some of the pictures that surfaced online, Buhari was seen discussing with some All Progressives Congress’ leaders at the revalidation of his APC membership in Daura, Katsina on Saturday without putting on a nose mask or maintaining social distancing as stipulated by the new law.
He, however, wore the mask while signing his form.
The People’s Democratic Party, PDP in a statement titled, ‘PDP Expresses Dismay By Buhari’s Violation of COVID-19 Law…Charges Nigerians Not to Follow Such Examples’, by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged Nigerians not to emulate Buhari.
The party described the president’s action as “a huge national embarrassment and gross failure of leadership”.
It noted that Buhari, who ought to lead by example, is seen publicly violating the COVID-19 regulation, which he signed just five days ago.
Part of the statement read, “It is indeed scandalous that while Nigerians are striving to obey the COVID-19 regulation, which stipulates the compulsory wearing of nose mask and physical distancing in the public, they are being confronted with reports of open violation of the law by Mr. President at the All Progressives Congress’ membership revalidation exercise in his hometown, Daura, Katsina state on Saturday.
“We ask, with this violation, does the Buhari administration and its officials still have the rectitude to enforce sanctions on any other defaulter in the absence of necessary regrets by President Buhari and his party, the APC?
“In this regard, the onus lies on President Buhari and the APC to clean up the mess by tendering an unreserved apology to Nigerians and take steps to observe necessary regrets over this violation.”
Only yesterday, one of Buhari’s aides, Bashir Ahmad, attended a wedding of a close friend in Bauchi without putting on his facemask or observing social distance.
Twenty four hours after President Buhari violated his own Executive order, The Presidency Sunday said only adherence to COVID-19 protocols will prevent a second national lockdown.
It urged Nigerians to wear face covering, observe social distancing as well as other non-pharmaceutical interventions to eliminate the possibility of a lockdown.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in a statement on Sunday evening expressed worry over report of non-compliance with the instructions despite the recent Executive Order issued by President Muhammadu Buhari, prescribing sanctions for non-compliance.
Part of the statement reads: “The Buhari administration is most reluctant to lockdown the country and continues to emphasize the non-pharmaceutical measures and the only way to avert lockdowns is to observe these measures as put in place by the Presidential Task Force.
“Nigerians have come a long way from the dreaded lockdown and the administration is unhappy about any prospects of bringing it back as many citizens will not have food on the table without venturing out on a day- to-day business.
“Nigerians are required to wear masks, wash hands regularly with soap and clean water, and keep safe distance with anybody not in your household, hoping that this will help check spread of COVID-19.
“Though vaccine availability is within reach, the propensity of the public for noncompliance weakens the fight against the virus”, it said.
The statement further urged Nigerians to ignore conspiracy theories that tend to deny the existence of the pandemic in Nigeria, reminding all that COVID-19 is a major threat to public health and the nation’s economy, and that only the non-pharmaceutical interventions, including wearing facemasks, are still the only protection against it for now.
“Nigerians must ignore baseless conspiracy theories that seek to deny the reality of the pandemic by complying with the order to wear masks.