Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of PTF on COVID-19

Nigeria decries non-adherence to control measures as pandemic spreads

* Why many Nigerians only wear nose masks to avoid security agents –PTF

* Says interstate roads, airports to reopen after meeting essential guidelines

*Coronavirus frontline health personnel protest over non-payment of hazard allowances

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Reacting to recent reports that many Nigerians appear carefree to a number of measures and protocols the appropriate authorities have designed to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has decried their lack of adherence to the government’s procedures controlling the fatal virus.

Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of PTF, at a briefing Monday, June 22 said that based on observations from a national sensitisation programme, several Nigerians are “letting down their guard.”

Aliyu stressed that in spite of the obvious increase in cases and the possibility of contracting the pandemic, sundry Nigerians are paying less attention to the health guidelines.

According to the National Coordinator, the PTF will continue to collaborate with security agencies and state governments to ensure the guidelines are obeyed while enjoining citizens to play their part.

Aliyu stated: “Some of the observations that have arisen from these activities (the national sensitisation programme) include the fact that Nigerians have continued to show persistent and remarkable lack of compliance with COVID-19 prevention protocols, which is quite worrying.

“In the cities where adherence to these protocols was high in the first two weeks of the ease of lockdown, progressively, over time, citizens are letting down their guard and this remains a great concern.

“There is partial to total noncompliance with facemasks and physical distancing protocols by the public.

“Many Nigerians only use face masks to avoid security agents, where enforcement exists or where they are told to do so.

He noted that there is yet some significant disbelief in the danger and impact of COVID-19 among Nigerians.

In parts of the South-East where, he said, “we did a recent survey, 60 percent did not believe that COVID-19 was an issue at all. We clearly are not taking the pandemic seriously enough.

“There are also many myths that also continue to exist within the social media platforms, ranging from conspiracy theories to get-rich-quick to claims of treatment of herbal concoctions, all of which appear to be putting our sensitisation efforts at risk.

“Now, you are more likely to contract COVID now if you go out and don’t observe the strict measures that we recommend far more than when this problem started three months ago, simply because of the numbers we are currently having.”

He, however, commended state governments who have been diligent in reporting positive cases.

“There is no shame in having positive results in your state. If we do not know the true state of the pandemic in your state, you are putting the lives of your citizens on the line,” Aliyu declared.

Likewise, the PTF on COVID-19 has said that the interstate road lockdowns and the airports closure will reopen after meeting the necessary guidelines.

Dr. Aliyu said that there was still restriction on interstate movement, adding that there was no way the flight would be opened while the roads were closed.

“We cannot operate the flights and keep the roads closed,” he said.

The National Coordinator also disclosed that Sen. Hadi Sirika, Honourable Minister for Aviation, has given the PTF strict guidelines that would be adopted in reopening the airways.

According to him, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, Minister of State for Transportation, is equally engaging the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in respect of reopening of interstate roads in the country.

He said that the citizen engagements are based on the guidelines to be adopted in reopening the roads across the country.

As soon as the PTF is sure of people’s safety, the roads would be reopened, Aliyu assured.


COVID-19 Frontline health workers protesting over non-payment of their hazard allowance in Abuja, June 22, 2020.

ConsumerConnect also reports that the frontline health workers involved in the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response in the country have protested over the non-payment of their hazard allowances in Abuja, FCT.

It was learnt that the protesters consist of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Team, including investigators and sample collectors.

Some carried placards with the inscriptions “Our colleagues are already infected,” “Payout three months allowances,” in pressing home the demand for payment of their outstanding allowances.

Additional reporting by Gbenga Kayode and Alexander Davis

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