Following the uncontrollable crowd that gathered for the funeral of the late Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, Anap Foundation has called for caution and stricter measure in enforcing compliance to social distance rules amidst of ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
Thousands of crowd converged to pay last respect to the late Emir in Kaduna State with no caution at all for prevention on COVID-19 which has affected about 57,000 Nigerians leaving 1,100 dead.
Reacting to the breaching of funeral and public gathering protocols, Anap Foundation Think Tank acknowledges the efforts of Kaduna State and its leadership in the area of non-medical interventions especially in encouraging social distancing, hygiene, and wearing of face coverings.
It stated that if ” in a State where genuine efforts have been made to limit the spread of the disease in the community this dangerous event nevertheless occurred, then it highlights further the key importance of the authorities’ preparedness.
“We, therefore, wish to flag this issue as one that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) should urgently address and put in place clear strategies to prevent such a recurrence. The country is increasingly witnessing numerous incidences of social events where COVID-19 protocols are not being followed and a renewed clarification by the PTF would not be amiss at this time.
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“We call on the PTF, the Kaduna State Government, and all concerned especially civic, political, and religious leaders to take active steps to safely manage the crowds that are even now trooping daily to the palace for condolence visits. As we watch the world slip in varying degrees into a steep second wave of infection, this is not the time for Nigeria to relax in her efforts at controlling disease spread.”
It further stated in a statement signed by its Chairman, Atedo Peterside and Vice-Chairman Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, that “Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) is still our best remedy. Radio jingles, posters, cartoons, the information in the lorry parks, village squares, markets, schools, churches, and mosques must be disseminated.
“The effort to achieve change in social and individual behaviour will need to be long-term and sustained. Security and law enforcement personnel should also have regular re-training and clear guidelines on how best to anticipate and manage large social gatherings.
“Nigeria is beginning to relax its lockdown further as schools resume, and public places of entertainment and worship have reopened to different extents. This is the time to ensure that in those places and in those gatherings appropriate protocols are strictly adhered to.
“COVID-19 STILL HAS NO CURE. BCC remains our strongest weapon against COVID-19. We raise this issue now as the PTF’s continuous silence on this matter of large gatherings, such as witnessed in Zaria, is inappropriate given the need for their continued clear leadership at this present time.”