The Nigerian Presidency has expressed concern over reports of noncompliance with just signed Executive Order that makes face mask wearing and observation of social distancing in the public mandatory.
Recall that President Buhari introduced the order with the best of intentions and not with any motive to punish citizens.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency appealed to State Governments, traditional rulers and religious leaders to play active roles in the sensitization and enforcement of the Executive Order.
He stated, “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 the face mask wearing 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 on face mask wearing, 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 the spread of COVID-19.
“Nigerians must ignore baseless conspiracy theories that seek to deny the reality of the pandemic by complying with the order to wear masks.
“We have a duty to protect ourselves and others in this difficult global health crisis; no one has immunity against this pandemic. Ignoring health warnings and refusing to comply with safety measures does more harm than good.”
It further said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a major threat to public health and wearing of masks, social distancing in public places and the basic hygiene are necessary measures that have to be taken to safeguard the well-being of our citizens.
“Nigerians must always have it in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic is not only a threat to the health of the population but it is equally so to the national economy, and to every aspect of our everyday life.