The Presidency yesterday threatened another lockdown of the country if Nigerians fail to comply with the compulsory wearing of face masks while in public places.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement titled: “Nigerians should comply with mandatory mask-wearing to avert another lockdown,” expressed concern over the non-compliance with the recently signed Executive Order, which makes mask-wearing and observation of social distancing in the public mandatory.
It stressed that the federal government was hesitant to lock down the country again but continues to emphasise the non-pharmaceutical measures, adding that the only way to avert lockdowns is to observe these measures as put in place by the Presidential Task Force.
According to it, “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.”
“Nigerians must ignore baseless conspiracy theories that seek to deny the reality of the pandemic by complying with the order to wear masks.”
It said Nigerians have a duty to protect themselves and others during the difficult global health crisis, adding that no one has immunity against this pandemic and that ignoring health warnings and refusing to comply with safety measures would do more harm than good.
The presidency, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to give their maximum cooperation for the success of the policy, saying the president introduced the order with the best of intentions and not with any motive to punish citizens.
It also urged 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.”
According to the presidency, “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.
“Protecting public health is one of the sacred duties of any responsible government and the administration will not abdicate that responsibility.”