COVID-19: Presidency Defends Buhari’s Removal Of Mask In Public
NEWSMAN, Abuja – Presidency, on Monday, said President Muhammadu Buhari did not violate COVID-19 protocols in Daura, Katsina State over the weekend.
Online photos had shown Buhari discussing with some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors at the revalidation of his APC membership in Daura on Saturday without putting on a mask or maintaining social distancing as stipulated by the newly signed Coronavirus Disease Health Protection Regulations (2021).
Peoples democratic Party (PDP) through Its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement had slammed the action of the president saying it was scandalous that while Nigerians were striving to obey the COVID-19 regulation, they saw reports of open violation of the law by the country’s leader.
“The media is awash with reports and pictures of Mr. President in public, discussing with his party leaders at the event without putting on a nose mask or maintaining social distancing as stipulated by the new law.
“Such disregard to law and rules, which have characterized the Buhari Presidency and the APC, is largely responsible for the failure of leadership.” He said.
The regulations also stipulate a fine or six months imprisonment or both for violators.
Speaking on Monday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said his principal had his mask on during the exercise but only removed it when he spoke to the microphone. This is at variance with health advice by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 that Nigerians should have their mouths covered with masks during speeches to keep off respiratory droplets through which the virus can be transmitted.
“People are missing the point. The President had his face mask on through that engagement. He had it off when he was speaking into the microphone. It is just a child antic by PDP.” Shehu said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.
Buhari has also been criticised for mobilising no fewer than nine governors to accompany him to Daura despite the government’s social distancing health advice.
The presidential spokesman, however, said there was nothing wrong with the delegation.
“This is to drive the spirit of the re-registration and the revalidation of membership. We must convey to the nation that we the party is behind the process and everyone is involved. He added.