The president on Sunday urged Nigerians to abide by a recently ratified executive order mandating the use of face masks and maintaining physical distance to smooth the curve of the horrific coronavirus infection.
In a statement Sunday evening, President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, beckoned COVID-19 task forces nationwide to ensure compliance with the new regulation, which he emphasised, was the only solution to avert another lockdown in the country.
Mr. Shehu’s warning came 24 hours after President Buhari violated the order, and just four days after it was signed. The President on Tuesday signed the decree in the exercise of his powers under section 4 of the Quarantine Act.
Part of the document directs that “a physical distance of at least two metres must be maintained at all times between persons.” The regulation also stipulates that nobody should be in a public premise except “he is wearing a face mask covering the nose and mouth.”
Globalgistng reported that one of the president’s aides, Bashir Ahmad, a Special Adviser to the President, tweeted in a similar way, he violated the presidential decree at his friend’s wedding in Bauchi.
Mr. Ahmad was spotted at the ceremony without a face mask or maintaining social distancing.
Mr. Buhari, who was pictured in the company of some APC governors on Saturday in his hometown Daura, in Katsina State, where he revalidated his membership of the ruling party, failed to adhere to the order which prescribes six months in prison for violators upon conviction.
It was earlier reported that even though the president had worn the mask at some point, he was later spotted amidst scores of people holding his facemask rather than have it on, just as the physical distance of two metres was jettisoned.
Mr. Buhari’s defiance of his own executive order, has generated furore amongst Nigerians, many of whom have criticised the president for not practising what he preaches.
The Presidency, however, reiterated Sunday that ”Nigerians are required to wear masks, wash hands regularly with soap and clean water, and keep safe distance with anybody not in their household.”
The statement signed by Mr. Shehu was silent on the president’s open violation of the COVID-19 protocol.