The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has expressed fear over breach of COVID-19 guidelines during electioneering in Edo State and burial of Senator Buruji Kashamu in Ogun State.
Kashamu, who died on Saturday from COVID-19 complications, was buried in his Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State, home on Sunday, with a large crowd in attendance in deviance to safety protocols.
Both the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party have also held campaign rallies in Edo State ahead of the September 19 governorship election.
The PTF, at its national press briefing on Monday, said it was dismayed by the development.
The PTF added that deaths recorded in COVID-19 pandemic cases are not child’s play and should be enough wakeup calls for citizens to take appropriate measures to avoid being infected.
Responding, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said, “I must say that we are dismayed with the level of compliance when it comes to some of these activities.
“The issue is; we know that COVID-19 does not act like a proper pandemic. If you have a proper pandemic like Ebola, as I have always said, you will have dead bodies on the streets, people bleeding to death; that sharp factor is there and we do not need to do anything further to convince people to protect themselves and to do the right thing.
“We are faced with a pandemic that is an invisible enemy; we are faced with a pandemic where the majority of us would probably not have come across somebody with COVID-19.”
Aliyu said leaders in the respective states failed to ensure compliance with protocols at the events, urging them to ensure more enforcement of safety guidelines.
Aliyu also stated, “When it comes to wearing of (face) mask for instance; when you wear a mask, it is actually an act of kindness and caring. What you are saying is that you care about the people that you will meet; you don’t want to infect them with COVID-19.
“The same thing applies when it comes to social distancing. It is much easier to be proactive. It is much easier for civil authorities, leaders and governors to make sure that those situations that pose a risk of mass gathering are avoided.”
He said Nigeria was lucky that it had not recorded the high number of deaths that other countries had recorded.
Aliyu stated, “Nevertheless, a lot of people have died – close to a thousand Nigerians have died – that would have still been with us today if not for COVID-19.
“We certainly have to continue to engage Nigerians, enlighten them and encourage them to take those simple steps that are necessary to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”