“There must be a higher public communications’ system, more so on account of the fact that this second phase spreads faster and record of new infections is more than the first phase that government spent so much money on advocacy programmes, food and money distributions (monies are still bang distributed by the government to “poor and unemployed” citizens). All these included nationwide protracted lockdown”

Since President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Coronavirus Disease Health Protection Bill 2021 barely two weeks ago, which made the use of face masks in public places mandatory with a view o curtailing the community spread of COVID-1, the enforcement of the law has thrown up a few but critical issues that government has ignored, or it is treating with levity.
Summing the bill, the president stated that he relied on the powers conferred on him by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010 before signing the regulations. The law laid out new regulations on public gatherings, physical distancing, etc: “No gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.
“All persons in public gatherings, whether in enclosed or open spaces, shall adhere to the provisions of Part 2 of these Regulations. The provisions of these regulations may be varied by Guidelines and Protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control”, it stated.
Similarly, no person shall be allowed into the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, restaurants, hotels, event centres, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, motor parks, fitness centre or any other similar establishment without strict observance of COVID-19 protocols.
But there are core issues the government has not taken time to look into seriously. It appears as if authorities have watered down or ignored effective and aggressive public enlightenment the way it did during the first phase of the pandemic. There are communities that are oblivious of the new regulations, including around the FCT Abuja parks, fitness centre or any other similar establishment without strict observance of COVID-19 protocols.
But there are core issues the government has not taken time to look into seriously. It appears as if authorities have watered down or ignored effective and aggressive public enlightenment the way it did during the first phase of the pandemic. There are communities that are oblivious of the new regulations, including around the FCT Abuja, and they face constant harassment by desperate law enforcement agents who compel impoverished people to pay sundry sums of money. That is a grave error that must be immediately corrected. There must be a higher public communications’ system, more so on account of the fact that this second phase spreads faster and record of new infections is more than the first phase that government spent so much money on advocacy programmes, food and money distributions (monies are still bang distributed by the government to “poor and unemployed” citizens). All these included a nationwide protracted lockdown.

There are unexplained developments whereby politicians and rich people take vaccines while the larger population does not; the scandalous reasons why WHO stopped Nigeria from getting the COVID-19 from Pfizer, etc. These issues are of public interest and need to be addressed urgently.

 


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