Comply with COVID-19 safety measures or risk another lockdown, Presidency warns

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The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is most reluctant to lock down the country but its emphasizing the need to adhere to the health instructions to wear face-covering, observe social distancing as well as other non-pharmaceutical interventions.

A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said the presidency expressed worry over report of non-compliance to the instructions, despite the recent Executive Order issued by President Muhammadu Buhari, prescribing sanctions for non-compliance.

“The Presidency is worried by reports of non-compliance with just signed Executive Order that makes mask-wearing and observation of social distancing in the public mandatory, appealing to Nigerians to give their maximum cooperation for success of the policy.

“President Buhari introduced the order with the best of intentions and not with any motive to punish citizens.

“The Presidency appeals to state governments, traditional rulers and religious leaders to play active roles in the sensitization and enforcement of the Executive Order.

“To achieve this, COVID-19 task forces and committees should persuade members of the public to cooperate with the government in achieving compliance and avoid crude methods that may create resistance and resentment, thereby defeating the primary goal of the Executive Order.”

“The Buhari administration is most reluctant to lock down 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.

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“Nigerians are required to wear masks, wash hands regularly with soap and clean water, and keep a 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.