The presidency has warned Nigerians to wear their masks in order to avert a fresh COVID-19 lockdown.
In a statement addressed to the Nigerian citizenry, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said the Presidency was worried by reports of non-compliance with the regulations that make mask-wearing and observation of social distancing in the public, mandatory.
While appealing to Nigerians to cooperate with the government to ensure the success of the policy, the presidential aide said Buhari introduced the order with the best of intentions and not with any motive to punish citizens.
The statement read, “The Buhari administration is most reluctant to lockdown the country and continues to emphasise 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 a safe distance with anybody not in your household, hoping that this will help check the spread of COVID-19.
“Though vaccine availability is within reach, the propensity of the public for noncompliance weakens the fight against the virus.”
Shehu further maintained that Nigerians have a duty to protect themselves and others in this difficult global health crisis; adding that “no one has immunity against this pandemic. Ignoring health warnings and refusing to comply with safety measures does more harm than good.
“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.”
The Federal Government had in March 2020 locked down the Federal Capital Territory as well as Lagos and Ogun States for over five weeks as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic.
The lockdown had a tremendous effect on economic activities with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) putting the loss at about N3 billion in the period under review.
Many jobs were also lost as airlines, hotels, banks, amongst others cut their workforce due to the crushing effect of the lockdown.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), alongside economists, have strongly been warning the Buhari-led government against commencing a second lockdown, saying it would worsen the country’s economy.