COVID-19 Outbreak: CSO expresses worry over Buhari’s quietness

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

A Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Sunday, expressed worry over quietness of President Muhammadu Buhari, on the outbreak of coronavirus, COVID-19, in the country.

This contained in a statement signed by the Convener, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, while expressing anxiety over the uneasy Buhari’s quietness is causing among Nigerians.

The statement said Nigerians are still eagerly waiting for their President to address them on the current efforts of his government on COVID-19 outbreak in the country, which infected persons are now close to 30.

The statement reads in part, “Nigeria faces the grim reality of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic as cases near 30, but the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari in providing moral and strategic leadership is hampering sensitization campaigns.

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“Countries are ramping-up effort to combat COVID-19, leaders are giving daily briefings to their people, but President Buhari’s absence is creating unease in Nigeria.”

“The refusal of Buhari to take direct leadership of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 has created a huge gap that is fueling all manner of speculations about the virus.”

The group also said the length and breadth of the country are enveloped with fake news that has created an avenue for Nigerians to be more nervous over the virus as the President is yet to make any statement on tackling it.

“Our greatest challenge today in Nigeria is that there is a rising trend of a disinformation push back by uninformed local leaders, greedy and overbearing clergies, crooked talebearers and profiteers, against the well-articulated advice of experts on how to combat the spread.

“These unpatriotic elements are concocting a different kind of disinformation about the virus, while some are making all sorts of unfounded speculations thereby inhibiting ongoing sensitization campaigns against the disease.

“Amidst this misinformation quagmire, the moral, informed and strategic leadership of President Buhari in giving the country a necessary direction to prevent the spread of this virus and in debunking the rising false claims are lacking”, the statement alleged.

Meanwhile, the group alleged that leader of the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus Disease, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, has not been able to get the attention of Nigerians and command necessary international and local resources to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“We make bold to say that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) who has been assigned to lead the Taskforce, cannot sufficiently galvanize the kind of national commitment that is needed to get the attention of all Nigerians and command necessary international and local resources.

“The number one citizen in every affected country is stepping forward to address their people and provide hope, therefore, we see no reason why Nigeria, should be an exception”, it said.

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According to the group Buhari’s aides are not leading by examples in terms of maintaining “Social Distance and avoiding handshakes.

“Between Thursday and Saturday last week, when the coronavirus cases in Nigeria crossed double-digit, the President and his aides were seen attending several crowded events, without beholding to relevant sensitization protocols already in the country.

“We wish to urge the President to quit his quarantine mode concerning speaking to Nigerians, he should know that the people of the country are eager to hear him, and this will help to stymie the disinformation controversy”, it added.

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