Wear masks or face fresh lockdown – Buhari warns Nigerians


President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern over reports of non-compliance with the Executive Order on masks-wearing and the observation of social distancing in public places.

The President warned Nigerians to cooperate with his orders to avert fresh lockdown of Nigeria.

But despite his new rule, the President himself did not wear a mask at some points during his outing on Saturday in his hometown Daura, Katsina State.

However, in a statement on Sunday, his spokesman Garba Shehu said the Nigerian leader introduced the COVID-19 regulation with the best of intentions and not with any motive to punish citizens.

The presidency appealed to state governments, traditional rulers and religious leaders to play active roles in the sensitization and enforcement of the Executive Order.

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COVID-19 task forces and committees were urged to persuade members of the public to cooperate with the government in achieving compliance and avoid crude methods that may create resistance and resentment, thereby defeating the primary goal of the Executive Order.

“The Buhari administration is most reluctant to lock down the country and continues to emphasize the non-pharmaceutical measures and the only way to avert lockdowns is to observe these measures as put in place by the Presidential Task Force.

“Nigerians have come a long way from the dreaded lockdown and the administration is unhappy about any prospects of bringing it back as many citizens will not have food on the table without venturing out on a day-to-day business.

“Nigerians are required to wear masks, wash hands regularly with soap and clean water, and keep a safe distance with anybody not in your household, hoping that this will help check the spread of COVID-19.

“Though vaccine availability is within reach, the propensity of the public for non-compliance weakens the fight against the virus. Nigerians must ignore baseless conspiracy theories that seek to deny the reality of the pandemic by complying with the order to wear masks.

“We have a duty to protect ourselves and others in this difficult global health crisis; no one has immunity against this pandemic. Ignoring health warnings and refusing to comply with safety measures does more harm than good”, the statement read.

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